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The spatial extent of (U)LIRGs in the mid-infrared. I. The continuum emission

Díaz-Santos, T. and Charmandaris, V. and Armus, L. and Petric, A. O. and Howell, J. H. and Murphy, E. J. and Mazzarella, J. M. and Veilleux, S. and Bothun, G. and Inami, H. and Appleton, P. N. and Evans, A. S. and Haan, S. and Marshall, J. A. and Sanders, D. B. and Stierwalt, S. and Surace, J. A. (2010) The spatial extent of (U)LIRGs in the mid-infrared. I. The continuum emission. Astrophysical Journal, 723 (2). pp. 993-1005. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We present an analysis of the extended mid-infrared (MIR) emission of the Great Observatories All-Sky LIRG Survey sample based on 5–15μm low-resolution spectra obtained with the Infrared Spectrograph on Spitzer. We calculate the fraction of extended emission (FEE) as a function of wavelength for the galaxies in the sample, FEE_λ, defined as the fraction of the emission which originates outside of the unresolved component of a source at a given distance. We find that the FEE_λ varies from one galaxy to another, but we can identify three general types of FEE_λ: one where FEE_λ is constant, one where features due to emission lines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons appear more extended than the continuum, and a third which is characteristic of sources with deep silicate absorption at 9.7 μm. More than 30% of the galaxies have a median FEE_λ larger than 0.5, implying that at least half of their MIR emission is extended. Luminous Infrared Galaxies (LIRGs) display a wide range of FEE in their warm dust continuum (0 ≲ FEE_(13.2μm) ≲ 0.85). The large values of FEE_(13.2μm) that we find in many LIRGs suggest that the extended component of their MIR continuum emission originates in scales up to 10 kpc and may contribute as much as the nuclear region to their total MIR luminosity. The mean size of the LIRG cores at 13.2 μm is 2.6 kpc. However, once the IR luminosity of the systems reaches the threshold of L_(IR) ~ 10^(11.8) L_⊙, slightly below the regime of Ultra-luminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs), all sources become clearly more compact, with FEE_(13.2μm) ≲ 0.2, and their cores are unresolved. Our estimated upper limit for the core size of ULIRGs is less than 1.5 kpc. Furthermore, our analysis indicates that the compactness of systems with L_(IR) ≳ 10^(11.25) L_⊙ strongly increases in those classified as mergers in their final stage of interaction. The FEE_(13.2μm) is also related to the contribution of an active galactic nucleus (AGN) to the MIR emission. Galaxies which are more AGN dominated are less extended, independently of their L_(IR). We finally find that the extent of the MIR continuum emission is correlated with the far-IR IRAS log(f_(60μm)/f_(100μm)) color. This enables us to place a lower limit to the area in a galaxy from where the cold dust emission may originate, a prediction which can be tested soon with the Herschel Space Telescope.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Díaz-Santos, T.0000-0003-0699-6083
Murphy, E. J.0000-0001-7089-7325
Mazzarella, J. M.0000-0002-8204-8619
Veilleux, S.0000-0002-3158-6820
Appleton, P. N.0000-0002-7607-8766
Surace, J. A.0000-0001-7291-0087
Additional Information:© 2010 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 April 21; accepted 2010 August 29; published 2010 October 18. T.D.-S. thanks E. da Cunha for her suggestions and interesting discussions. T.D.-S. and V.C. acknowledge partial support from the EU ToK grant 39965 and FP7-REGPOT 206469. 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, and of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System (ADS) abstract service.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)206469
European Research Council (ERC)39965
Subject Keywords:galaxies: active – galaxies: evolution – galaxies: interactions – galaxies: starburst – infrared: galaxies
Classification Code:PACS: 95.80.+p; 98.54.Ep; 98.62.Bj; 98.62.Ai; 98.62.Qz; 95.85.Hp
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101213-100244531
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:T. Díaz-Santos et al 2010 ApJ 723 993 doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/723/2/993
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21313
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:13 Dec 2010 20:43
Last Modified:25 Oct 2017 19:26

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