Galactic Scale Star Formation Reviewed

In a paper to appear in the Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, available online now here, astronomers review the state of the science of galactic scale star formation out of the material which constitutes the interstellar medium (ISM). Summarizing the results of some 20 years of research, the authors note that “evidence has been increasingly accumulating that there is a tight relation between the star formation rate surface density and the gas surface density on global (disk‚Äďaveraged) scales in nearby galaxies.” After reviewing the latest results from a look at many galaxies in many different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, the authors take a look at the future of this science, which not only effects stellar and galactic evolution studies, but even the astrobiologist’s Drake equation.