Astron. J., 122, 63-82 (2001/July-0)
Statistical properties of ultraluminous IRAS galaxies from an HST imaging survey.
CUI J., XIA X.-Y., DENG Z.-G., MAO S. and ZOU Z.-L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We perform photometric measurements on a large HST snapshot imaging survey sample of 97 ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs). We select putative nuclei from bright clumps in all the sample targets, mainly based on a quantitative criterion of I-band luminosity as well as the global and local morphological information. All the sources are then classified into three categories with multiple, double, and single nucleus/nuclei. The resultant fractions of multiple, double, and single nucleus/nuclei ULIRGs are 18%, 39%, and 43%, respectively. This supports the multiple merger scenario as a possible origin of ULIRGs, in addition to the commonly accepted pair merger model. Further statistical studies indicate that the AGN fraction increases from multiple (36%) to double (65%) and then to single (80%) nucleus/nuclei ULIRGs. For the single nucleus category, there is a high-luminosity tail in the luminosity distribution, which corresponds to a Seyfert 1/QSO excess. This indicates that active galactic nuclei tend to appear at final merging stage. For multiple/double nuclei galaxies, we also find a high fraction of very close nucleus pairs (e.g., 3/4 for those separated by less than 5 kpc). This strengthens the conclusion that systems at late merging phase preferentially host ULIRGs.
Galaxies: Evolution - Galaxies: Interactions - Galaxies: Nuclei - Galaxies: Star Clusters - Infrared Radiation
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