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Astro Seminar

Cosmic rays in star-forming galaxies: transport, feedback, and non-thermal messengers

Speaker: Mark Krumholz (ANU)
Date: Wednesday 5 May 2021
Time: 10:00
Venue: Zoom

Supernovae ultimately deposit ~10% of their total energy in a population of relativistic cosmic rays that subsequently interact with the interstellar medium (ISM) via magnetic forces. Because these particles lose energy to radiation only slowly compared to the ~90% of the supernova energy that is deposited in the ISM as heat, they are a potentially important feedback mechanism in galaxies despite their comparatively small energy budget. Their effectiveness, however, depends crucially on the poorly-understood plasma processes that couple them to the bulk, neutral ISM. In this talk I introduce a new, physically-motivated model for the coupling between cosmic rays and the neutral, star-forming ISM, and show that it successfully predicts the gamma-ray spectra of resolved nearby galaxies, the galactic IR-gamma correlation, and the cosmological gamma-ray background. I conclude by exploring the implications of this model for the importance of cosmic ray feedback, demonstrating that this mechanism is likely unimportant for rapidly star-forming galaxies either today or in the early universe, but may be critical for local dwarfs and quiescent spirals.