Institution(s): 1. Yunnan Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences
NGC 5194 (M51a) is a grand-design spiral galaxy and undergoing interactions with its companion. Here, we focus on investigating main properties of its star formation history by constructing a simple evolution model, which assumes that the disk builds up gradually by cold gas infall and the gas infall rate can be parametrizedly described by a Gaussian form. By comparing model predictions with the observed data, we discuss the probable range for free parameter in the model and then know more about the main properties of the evolution and SFH of M51a. We find that the model predictions are very sensitive to the free parameter and the model adopting a constant infall-peak time tp = 7.0 Gyr can reproduce most of the observed constraints of M51a. Although our model does not assume the gas infall time-scale of the inner disk is shorter than that of the outer disc, our model predictions still show that the disk of M51a forms inside-out. We find that the mean stellar age of M51a is younger than that of the Milky Way, but older than that of the gas-rich disk galaxy UGC 8802. In this paper, we also introduce a ‘toy’ model to allow an additional cold gas infall occurred recently to imitate the influence of the interaction between M51a and its companion. Our results show that the current molecular gas surface density, the star formation rate and the UV-band surface brightness are important quantities to trace the effects of recent interaction on galactic star formation process.