The massive star population in M101. II. Spatial variations in the recent star formation history

Skyler Grammer, Roberta M Humphreys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We investigate star formation history (SFH) as a function of radius in M101 using archival Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys photometry. We derive the SFH from the resolved stellar populations in five 2′ wide annuli. Binning the SFH into time frames corresponding to stellar populations traced by Hα, far-ultraviolet, and near-ultraviolet emission, we find that the fraction of stellar populations young enough to contribute in Hα is 15%-35% in the inner regions, compared to less than 5% in the outer regions. This provides a sufficient explanation for the lack of Hα emission at large radii. We also model the blue to red supergiant ratio in our five annuli, examine the effects that a metallicity gradient and variable SFH have on the predicted ratios, and compare to the observed values. We find that the radial behavior of our modeled blue to red supergiant ratios is highly sensitive to both spatial variations in the SFH and metallicity. Incorporating the derived SFH into modeled ratios, we find that we are able to reproduce the observed values at large radii (low metallicity), but at small radii (high metallicity) the modeled and observed ratios are discrepant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number58
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • galaxies
  • individual (M101) - galaxies
  • star formation - galaxies
  • stellar content

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