Starburst galaxies are observed as they experience a burst of star formation so powerful that it will quickly consume the available gas, and may form the majority of the galaxy’s stars. At all redshifts yet sampled, starbursts play a significant role in the global evolution of galaxies ; (part of) every galaxy has almost certainly gone through at least one starburst stage, while local merger-induced starbursts demonstrate that the phenomenon continues to be significant at the current epoch. I will discuss recent research on 4 kinds of starburst galaxies :
- Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) at z≈3, in particular their masses ;
- luminous compact blue galaxies (LCBGs), which account for up to 40% of the optically observed evolution from z=1 to z=0, and which are excellent local analogs of LBGs ;
- ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs), mostly dusty mergers of gaseous disk galaxies, observed from z=0 out to z>1, including with HST ;
- submillimeter galaxies (SMGs) — the distant analogs of ULIRGs — observed with the AzTEC 1mm camera.