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Synthetic properties of starburst galaxies
Leitherer, Claus; Heckman, Timothy M.
AA(Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, US), AB(Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, US)
Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (ISSN 0067-0049), vol. 96, no. 1, p. 9-38 (ApJS Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Compact Galaxies, Galactic Evolution, H Ii Regions, Massive Stars, Star Formation, Starburst Galaxies, Stellar Models, Lyman Spectra, Stellar Luminosity, Supernovae
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We present the results of an extensive grid of evolutionary synthesis models for populations of massive stars. The parameter space has been chosen to correspond to conditions typically found in objects like giant H II regions, H II galaxies, blue compact dwarf galaxies, nuclear starbursts, and infrared luminous starburst galaxies. The models are based on the most up-to-date input physics for the theory of stellar atmospheres, stellar winds, and stellar evolution. A population of massive stars is not only important in terms of its output of radiation but also via its deposition of mechanical energy. The output of radiative and mechanical luminosity is compared at various starburst epochs. In a supernova dominated instantaneous starburst, the mechanical luminosity can be as large as almost 10% of the total radiative luminosity. This occurs when most massive O stars have disappeared, and the synthetic spectrum in the optical and near-ultraviolet is dominated by B and A stars. During this epoch, the output of ionizing radiation below 912 A becomes very small, as indicated by a very large Lyman discontinuity and a very small ratio of ionizing over mechanical luminosity. We discuss the relevance of these results for the interpretation of starburst galaxies, active galactic nuclei, and the energetics of the interstellar medium.

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