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      Galaxy Zoo: star-formation versus spiral arm number


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          Spiral arms are common features in low-redshift disc galaxies, and are prominent sites of star-formation and dust obscuration. However, spiral structure can take many forms: from galaxies displaying two strong `grand design' arms, to those with many `flocculent' arms. We investigate how these different arm types are related to a galaxy's star-formation and gas properties by making use of visual spiral arm number measurements from Galaxy Zoo 2. We combine UV and mid-IR photometry from GALEX and WISE to measure the rates and relative fractions of obscured and unobscured star formation in a sample of low-redshift SDSS spirals. Total star formation rate has little dependence on spiral arm multiplicity, but two-armed spirals convert their gas to stars more efficiently. We find significant differences in the fraction of obscured star-formation: an additional \(\sim 10\) per cent of star-formation in two-armed galaxies is identified via mid-IR dust emission, compared to that in many-armed galaxies. The latter are also significantly offset below the IRX-\(\beta\) relation for low-redshift star-forming galaxies. We present several explanations for these differences versus arm number: variations in the spatial distribution, sizes or clearing timescales of star-forming regions (i.e., molecular clouds), or contrasting recent star-formation histories.

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          Introduction to astroML: Machine Learning for Astrophysics

          Astronomy and astrophysics are witnessing dramatic increases in data volume as detectors, telescopes and computers become ever more powerful. During the last decade, sky surveys across the electromagnetic spectrum have collected hundreds of terabytes of astronomical data for hundreds of millions of sources. Over the next decade, the data volume will enter the petabyte domain, and provide accurate measurements for billions of sources. Astronomy and physics students are not traditionally trained to handle such voluminous and complex data sets. In this paper we describe astroML; an initiative, based on Python and scikit-learn, to develop a compendium of machine learning tools designed to address the statistical needs of the next generation of students and astronomical surveys. We introduce astroML and present a number of example applications that are enabled by this package.

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            15 pages, 13 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

            Galaxy astrophysics


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