A deep K-band photometric survey of merger remnants.
ROTHBERG B. and JOSEPH R.D.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present K-band photometry for 51 candidate merger remnants to assess the viability of whether spiral-spiral mergers can produce bona fide elliptical galaxies. Using both the de Vaucouleurs r1/4 and Sérsic r^1/n^ fitting laws, it is found that the stellar component in a majority of the galaxies in the sample has undergone violent relaxation. However, the sample shows evidence for incomplete phase mixing. The analysis also indicates the presence of ``excess light'' in the surface brightness profiles of nearly one-third of the merger remnants. Circumstantial evidence suggests that this is due to the effects of a starburst induced by the dissipative collapse of the gas. The integrated light of the galaxies also shows that mergers can make L* elliptical galaxies, in contrast to earlier infrared studies. The isophotal shapes and related structural parameters are also discussed, including the fact that 70% of the sample show evidence for disky isophotes. The data and results presented are part of a larger photometric and spectroscopic campaign to thoroughly investigate a large sample of mergers in the local universe.