Conversion law of infrared luminosity to star-formation rate for galaxies

Akio K. Inoue*, Hiroyuki Hirashita, Hideyuki Kamaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


We construct a new algorithm for estimating the star-formation rate (SFR) of galaxies from their infrared (IR) luminosity by developing the theory of the IR emission from a dusty HII region. The derived formula is SFR/(M(fisheye sign) yr-1) = [3.3 × 10-10(1 - η)/(0.4 - 0.2f + 0.6∈)](LobsIR/L(fisheye sign)), where f is the fraction of ionizing photons absorbed by hydrogen, ∈ is the efficiency of dust absorption for nonionizing photons from OB stars, and η is the cirrus fraction of observed IR luminosity. The previous conversion formulae of SFR from the IR luminosity are applicable to only the case where the observed IR luminosity is nearly equal to the bolometric luminosity (starburst galaxies etc.), except for some empirical formulae. On the other hand, our theoretical SFR is applicable to galaxies even with a moderate star-formation activity. That is, our simple and convenient formula is significantly useful for estimating the SFR of various morphologies and types of galaxies - from early elliptical to late spiral and irregular galaxies, or from active starburst to quiescent galaxies - as long as they have neither an abnormal dust-to-gas ratio nor an evident active galactic nucleus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-543
Number of pages5
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • ISM: dust
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Methods: analytical
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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