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Stellar populations and physical properties of starbursts in the antennae galaxy from self-consistent modelling of MUSE spectra

M. L. P. Gunawardhana, J. Brinchmann, P. M. Weilbacher, P. Norberg, A. Monreal-Ibero, T. Nanayakkara, M. den Brok, L. A. Boogaard, W. Kollatschny

Abstract
We have modelled the stellar and nebular continua and emission-line intensity ratios of massive stellar populations in the Antennae galaxy using high resolution and self-consistent libraries of model H ii regions around central clusters of ageing stars. The model libraries are constructed using the stellar population synthesis code, starburst99, and photoionization model, and cloudy. The Geneva and PARSEC stellar evolutionary models are plugged into starburst99 to allow comparison between the two models. Using a spectrum-fitting methodology that allows the spectral features in the stellar and nebular continua [e.g. Wolf–Rayet (WR) features, Paschen jump], and emission-line diagnostics to constrain the models, we apply the libraries to the high-resolution Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer spectra of the starbursting regions in the Antennae galaxy. Through this approach, we were able to model the continuum emission from WR stars and extract stellar and gas metallicities, ages, electron temperatures, and densities of starbursts by exploiting the full spectrum. From the application to the Antennae galaxy, we find that (1) the starbursts in the Antennae galaxy are characterized by stellar and gas metallicities of around solar, (2) the star-forming gas in starbursts in the Western loop of NGC 4038 appears to be more enriched, albeit slightly, than the rest of galaxy, (3) the youngest starbursts are found across the overlap region and over parts of the western-loop, though in comparison, the regions in the western-loop appear to be at a slightly later stage in star formation than the overlap region, and (4) the results obtained from fitting the Geneva and Parsec models are largely consistent.

Keywords
ISM: H ii regions; ISM: structure; galaxies: individual: NGC 4038; NGC 4039; galaxies: interactions; galaxies: ISM; galaxies: starburst; Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 497, Issue 3, Page 3860
2020 September

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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia