Haan, S. and Armus, L. and Laine, S. and Charmandaris, V. and Smith, J. D. and Schweizer, F. and Brandl, B. and Evans, A. S. and Surace, J. A. and Diaz-Santos, T. and Beirão, P. and Murphy, E. J. and Stierwalt, S. and Hibbard, J. E. and Yun, M. and Jarrett, T. H. (2011) Spitzer IRS Spectral Mapping of the Toomre Sequence: Spatial Variations of PAH, Gas, and Dust Properties in nearby Major Mergers. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 197 (2). Art. No. 27. ISSN 0067-0049 http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20120127-105410283
- Published Version
See Usage Policy.
Use this Persistent URL to link to this item: http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20120127-105410283
We have mapped the key mid-IR diagnostics in eight major merger systems of the Toomre sequence (NGC 4676, NGC 7592, NGC 6621, NGC 2623, NGC 6240, NGC 520, NGC 3921, and NGC 7252) using the Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph. With these maps, we explore the variation of the ionized-gas, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), and warm gas (H_2) properties across the sequence and within the galaxies. While the global PAH interband strength and ionized gas flux ratios ([Ne_(III)]/[Ne_(II)]) are similar to those of normal star-forming galaxies, the distribution of the spatially resolved PAH and fine structure line flux ratios is significantly different from one system to the other. Rather than a constant H_2/PAH flux ratio, we find that the relation between the H_2 and PAH fluxes is characterized by a power law with a roughly constant exponent (0.61 ± 0.05) over all merger components and spatial scales. While following the same power law on local scales, three galaxies have a factor of 10 larger integrated (i.e., global) H_2/PAH flux ratio than the rest of the sample, even larger than what it is in most nearby active galactic nuclei. These findings suggest a common dominant excitation mechanism for H_2 emission over a large range of global H_2/PAH flux ratios in major mergers. Early-merger systems show a different distribution between the cold (CO J = 1-0) and warm (H_2) molecular gas components, which is likely due to the merger interaction. Strong evidence for buried star formation in the overlap region of the merging galaxies is found in two merger systems (NGC 6621 and NGC 7592) as seen in the PAH, [Ne_(II)], [Ne_(III)], and warm gas line emission, but with no apparent corresponding CO (J = 1-0) emission. The minimum of the 11.3/7.7 μm PAH interband strength ratio is typically located in the nuclei of galaxies, while the [Ne_(III)/[Ne_(II)] ratio increases with distance from the nucleus. Our findings also demonstrate that the variations of the physical conditions within a merger are much larger than any systematic trends along the Toomre sequence.
|Additional Information:||© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 August 24; accepted 2011 October 11; published 2011 November 29. Support for this work was provided by NASA through a grant issued by the Spitzer Science Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank the referee for a careful review and valued suggestions, and Pierre Guillard for a useful discussion.|
|Subject Keywords:||galaxies: evolution; galaxies: individual (NGC 4676, NGC 7592, NGC 6621, NGC 2623, NGC 6240, NGC 520, NGC 3921, NGC 7252); galaxies: interactions; galaxies: starburst; ISM: molecules|
|Official Citation:||Spitzer IRS Spectral Mapping of the Toomre Sequence: Spatial Variations of PAH, Gas, and Dust Properties in nearby Major Mergers S. Haan et al. 2011 ApJS 197 27|
|Usage Policy:||No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.|
|Deposited By:||Ruth Sustaita|
|Deposited On:||27 Jan 2012 23:18|
|Last Modified:||26 Dec 2012 14:45|
Repository Staff Only: item control page