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Star formation histories in mergers: the spatially resolved properties of the early-stage merger luminous infrared galaxies IC 1623 and NGC 6090

AuthorsCortijo Ferrero, Clara ; González Delgado, Rosa M. ; Pérez Jiménez, Enrique ; García-Benito, Rubén ; López-Fernandez, R. ; Tadhunter, C
KeywordsTechniques: spectroscopic
Galaxies: evolution
Galaxies: interactions
Galaxies: star formation
Galaxies: stellar content
Issue Date14-Feb-2017
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 467(4): 3898-3919 (2017)
AbstractThe role of major mergers in galaxy evolution is investigated through a detailed characterization of the stellar populations, ionized gas properties and star formation rates (SFR) in the earlystage merger luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs) IC 1623 W and NGC 6090, by analysing optical integral field spectroscopy and high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope imaging. The spectra were processed with the STARLIGHT full spectral fitting code, and the emission lines measured in the residual spectra. The results are compared with non-interacting control spiral galaxies from the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area survey. Merger-induced star formation is extended and recent, as revealed by the young ages (50-80 Myr) and high contributions to light of young stellar populations (50-90 per cent), in agreement with merger simulations in the literature. These early-stage mergers have positive central gradients of the stellar metallicity, with an average similar to 0.6 Z(circle dot). Compared to non-interacting spirals, they have lower central nebular metallicity, and flatter profiles, in agreement with the gas inflow scenario. We find that they are dominated by star formation, although shock excitation cannot be discarded in some regions, where high velocity dispersion is found (170-200 km s(-1)). The average SFR in these earlystage mergers (similar to 23-32 M-circle dot yr(-1)) is enhanced with respect to main-sequence Sbc galaxies by factors of 6-9, slightly above the predictions from classical merger simulations, but still possible in about 15 per cent of major galaxy mergers, where U/LIRGs belong.© 2017 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
DescriptionCortijo Ferrero, Clara et. al.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx383
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