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Paper: The Schmidt Law: Is it Universal and What Are its Implications?
Volume: 390, Pathways Through an Eclectic Universe
Page: 149
Authors: Kennicutt, R.C. Jr.
Abstract: Galaxies exhibit an immense diversity in their star formation properties, yet these properties appear to be linked by a few underlying scaling laws. One of the most fundamental of these laws is the star formation law relating the surface densities of star formation and cold gas in galaxies. Virtually the entire range of global star formation rates in galaxies can be reproduced by the simple combination of a Schmidt power law relation at high density with a sharp turnover in star formation rate below a threshold surface density. Thanks to a new generation of multi-wavelength observations of nearby galaxies, it is now possible to test the validity of this description as a function of physical scale and interstellar environment. These new observations also offer new clues to the physical processes that underlie and drive the observed star formation law. This paper reviews recent progress in our observational and theoretical understanding of the star formation law in the Schmidt power law and threshold regimes.
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