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CO in Hickson compact group galaxies with enhanced warm H_2 emission: Evidence for galaxy evolution?

Lisenfeld, U. and Appleton, P. N. and Cluver, M. E. and Guillard, P. and Alatalo, K. and Ogle, P. (2014) CO in Hickson compact group galaxies with enhanced warm H_2 emission: Evidence for galaxy evolution? Astronomy and Astrophysics, 570 . Art. No. A24. ISSN 0004-6361. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201423632.

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Context. Galaxies in Hickson Compact Groups (HCGs) are believed to experience morphological transformations from blue, star-forming galaxies to red, early-type galaxies. Galaxies with a high ratio between the luminosities of the warm H_2 to the 7.7 μm PAH emission (so-called Molecular Hydrogen Emission Galaxies, MOHEGs) are predominantly in an intermediate phase, the green valley. Their enhanced H_2 emission suggests that the molecular gas is affected in the transition. Aims. We study the properties of the molecular gas traced by CO in galaxies in HCGs with measured warm H_2 emission in order to look for evidence of the perturbations affecting the warm H_2 in the kinematics, morphology and mass of the molecular gas. Methods. We observed the CO(1–0) emission of 20 galaxies in HCGs and complemented our sample with 11 CO(1–0) spectra from the literature. Most of the galaxies have measured warm H_2 emission, and 14 of them are classified as MOHEGs. We mapped some of these galaxies in order to search for extra-galactic CO emission. We analyzed the molecular gas mass derived from CO(1–0), M_H_2, and its kinematics, and then compared it to the mass of the warm molecular gas, the stellar mass and star formation rate (SFR). Results. Our results are the following. (i) The mass ratio between the CO-derived and the warm H_2 molecular gas is in the same range as found for field galaxies. (ii) Some of the galaxies, mostly MOHEGs, have very broad CO linewidths of up to 1000 km s^(-1) in the central pointing. The line shapes are irregular and show various components. (iii) In the mapped objects we found asymmetric distributions of the cold molecular gas. (iv) The star formation efficiency (=SFR/M_H_2) of galaxies in HCGs is very similar to isolated galaxies. No significant difference between MOHEGs and non-MOHEGs or between early-type and spiral galaxies has been found. In a few objects the SFE is significantly lower, indicating the presence of molecular gas that is not actively forming stars. (v) The molecular gas masses, M_H_2, and ratios M_H_2/L_K are lower in MOHEGs (predominantly early-types) than in non-MOHEGs (predominantly spirals). This trend remains when comparing MOHEGs and non-MOHEGs of the same morphological type. Conclusions. We found differences in the molecular gas properties of MOHEGs that support the view that they have suffered (or are presently suffering) perturbations of the molecular gas, as well as a decrease in the molecular gas content and associated SFR. Higher resolution observations of the molecular gas are needed to shed light on the nature of these perturbations and their cause.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Lisenfeld, U.0000-0002-9471-5423
Appleton, P. N.0000-0002-7607-8766
Cluver, M. E.0000-0002-9871-6490
Guillard, P.0000-0002-2421-1350
Alatalo, K.0000-0002-4261-2326
Ogle, P.0000-0002-3471-981X
Additional Information:© 2014 ESO. Article published by EDP Sciences. Received 13 February 2014. Accepted 9 July 2014. Published online 09 October 2014. This work has been supported by the research projects AYA2011-24728 from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Educación and the Junta de Andalucía (Spain) grants FQM108. It is based on observations with the Instituto de Radioastronomía Milimétrica IRAM 30m. 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. We also acknowledge the use of the HyperLeda database (
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministerio de Ciencia y Educaciόn (MEC)AYA2011-24728
Junta de AndalucíaFQM108
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution, galaxies: groups: general, galaxies: ISM, galaxies: interactions, infrared: galaxies, intergalactic medium
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141205-140408983
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:CO in Hickson compact group galaxies with enhanced warm H2 emission: Evidence for galaxy evolution? U. Lisenfeld, P. N. Appleton, M. E. Cluver, P. Guillard, K. Alatalo and P. Ogle A&A 570 A24 (2014) DOI:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52442
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:05 Dec 2014 22:35
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:41

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