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We have analyzed FUSE (905-1187 Å) spectra of a sample of 16 local starburst galaxies. These galaxies cover almost three orders of magnitude in star-formation rates and over two orders of magnitude in stellar mass. Absorption features from the stars and interstellar medium are observed in all the spectra. The strongest interstellar absorption features are generally blue-shifted by ~ 50-300 km s–1, implying the almost ubiquitous presence of starburst-driven galactic winds in this sample. The outflow velocites increase with both the star-formation rate and the star-formation rate per unit stellar mass, consistent with a galactic wind, driven by the population of massive stars. We find outflowing coronal-phase gas (T ~105.5 K) detected via the O VI absorption line in nearly every galaxy. The O VI absorption-line profile is optically thin, is generally weak near the galaxy-systemic velocity, and has a higher mean outflow velocity than seen in the lower ionization lines. The relationship between the line width and column density for the O VI absorbing gas is in good agreement with expectations for radiatively cooling and outflowing gas. Such gas will be created in the interaction of the hot out-rushing wind seen in X-ray emission and cool dense ambient material. O VI emission is not generally detected in our sample, suggesting that radiative cooling by the coronal gas is not dynamically significant in draining energy from galactic winds. We find that the measured outflow velocities in the H I and H II phases of the interstellar gas in a given galaxy increase with the strength (equivalent width) of the absorption feature and not with the ionization potential of the species. The strong lines often have profiles consisting of a broad and optically-thick component centered near the galaxy-systemic velocity and weaker but highly blue-shifted absorption. This suggests that the outflowing gas with high velocity has a lower column density than the more quiescent gas, and can only be readily detected in the strongest absorption lines. From direct observations below the Lyman edge in the galaxy rest frame, we find no evidence of Lyman continuum radiation escaping from any of the galaxies in the sample. Moreover, the small escape fraction of light in the center of the strong C II absorption feature confirms the high opacity below the Lyman limit in the neutral ISM. The absolute fraction of escaping Lyman continuum photons is typically <1%. This sample provides a unique window on the global properties of local star-forming galaxies as observed in the far-UV and also provides a useful comparison sample for understanding spectra of high-redshift star-forming galaxies.


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