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The NGC 7771+NGC 7770 minor merger: Harassing the little one?

AuthorsAlonso-Herrero, A. ; Rosales-Ortega, Fabián ; Sánchez, Sebastián F. ; Kennicutt, Robert C.; Pereira-Santaella, Miguel ; Díaz, Ángeles I.
Issue Date2012
PublisherOxford University Press
Royal Astronomical Society
CitationMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 425(1): L46-L50 (2012)
AbstractNumerical simulations of minor mergers, typically having mass ratios greater than 3:1, predict little enhancement in the global star formation activity. However, thesemodels also predict that the satellite galaxy is more susceptible to the effects of the interaction than the primary. We use optical integral field spectroscopy and deep optical imaging to study the NGC 7771+NGC 7770 interacting system (~10:1 stellar mass ratio) to test these predictions. We find that the satellite galaxy NGC 7770 is currently experiencing a galaxy-wide starburst with most of the optical light being from young and post-starburst stellar populations (<1Gyr). This galaxy lies off the local star-forming sequence for composite galaxies with an enhanced integrated specific star formation rate. We also detect in the outskirts of NGC 7770 Hα emitting gas filaments. This gas appears to have been stripped from one of the two galaxies and is being excited by shocks. All these results are consistent with a minor-merger-induced episode(s) of star formation in NGC 7770 after the first close passage. Such effects are not observed on the primary galaxy NGC 7771. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 RAS.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-3933.2012.01297.x
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/j.1745-3933.2012.01297.x
e-issn: 1745-3933
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