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The Infrared Properties of Hickson Compact Groups

Johnson, Kelsey E. and Hibbard, John E. and Gallagher, Sarah C. and Charlton, Jane C. and Hornschemeier, Ann E. and Jarrett, Thomas H. and Reines, Amy E. (2007) The Infrared Properties of Hickson Compact Groups. Astronomical Journal, 134 (4). pp. 1522-1534. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.1086/520921.

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Compact groups of galaxies provide a unique environment to study the mechanisms by which star formation occurs amid continuous gravitational encounters. We present 2MASS (JHK) and Spitzer IRAC (3.5-8 μm) and MIPS (24 μm) observations of a sample of 12 Hickson Compact Groups (HCGs 2, 7, 16, 19, 22, 31, 42, 48, 59, 61, 62, and 90) that includes a total of 45 galaxies. The infrared colors of the galaxies in this sample span a range of parameter space, and some trends are apparent in the data. The near-infrared colors of the sample galaxies are largely consistent with being dominated by slightly reddened normal stellar populations. There is also some evidence for a K-band excess in a few cases, which likely indicates the presence of hot dust at or near the sublimation temperature associated with active galactic nuclei or star formation activity. Galaxies that have the most significant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and/or hot dust emission (as inferred from excess 8 μm flux) also tend to have larger amounts of extinction and/or K-band excess and stronger 24 μm emission, all of which suggest ongoing star formation activity. We separate the 12 HCGs in our sample into three types based on the ratio of the group H I mass to dynamical mass. We find evidence that galaxies in the most gas-rich groups tend to be the most actively star forming. Galaxies in the most gas-poor groups tend to be tightly clustered around a narrow range in colors consistent with the integrated light from a normal stellar population. We interpret these trends as indicating that galaxies in gas-rich groups experience star formation and/or nuclear actively until their neutral gas is consumed, stripped, or ionized. The galaxies in this sample exhibit a "gap" between gas-rich and gas-poor groups in infrared color space that is sparsely populated and not seen in the Spitzer First Look Survey sample. This gap may suggest a rapid evolution of galaxy properties in response to dynamical effects. These results suggest that the global properties of the groups and the local properties of the galaxies are connected.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Johnson, Kelsey E.0000-0001-8348-2671
Hornschemeier, Ann E.0000-0001-8667-2681
Jarrett, Thomas H.0000-0002-4939-734X
Additional Information:© 2007. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 January 14; accepted 2007 June 12; published 2007 August 21. Print publication: Issue 4 (2007 October). We are grateful to Remy Indebetouw for his help developing the IDL program used in this project. We also thank Amanda Heiderman for helpful discussions on compact groups. The referee, Phil Appleton, provided insightful feedback that significantly enhanced this paper. This work was supported in part by the Spitzer Space Telescope grant for project 3596. K.E.J. gratefully acknowledges partial support for this research provided by NSF/CAREER grant AST 05-48103. Support for S.C.G. was provided by NASA through the Spitzer Fellowship Program, under award 1256317. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the NSF. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Spitzer Space Telescope3596
NSFAST 05-48103
Subject Keywords:galaxies: clusters: general; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: interactions; infrared: galaxies
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:JOHaj07
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:12804
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:24 Dec 2008 19:11
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:33

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