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2006ApJ...646..872H - Astrophys. J., 646, 872-880 (2006/August-1)

Dynamical masses in luminous infrared galaxies.


Abstract (from CDS):

We have studied the dynamics and masses of a sample of 10 nearby luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs and ULIRGs, respectively) using 2.3 µm 12CO-absorption line spectroscopy and near-infrared H- and Ks-band imaging. By combining velocity dispersions derived from the spectroscopy, disk scale lengths obtained from the imaging, and a set of likely model density profiles, we calculate dynamical masses for each LIRG. For the majority of the sample, it is difficult to reconcile our mass estimates with the large amounts of gas derived from millimeter observations and from a standard conversion between 12CO emission and H2 mass. Our results imply that LIRGs do not have huge amounts of molecular gas (1010-1011 M) at their centers and support previous indications that the standard conversion of 12CO to H2 probably overestimates the gas masses and cannot be used in these environments. This in turn suggests much more modest levels of extinction in the near-infrared for LIRGs than previously predicted (AV∼10-20 vs. AV∼100-1000). The lower gas mass estimates indicated by our observations imply that the star formation efficiency in these systems is very high and is triggered by cloud-cloud collisions, shocks, and winds rather than by gravitational instabilities in circumnuclear gas disks.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxies: Kinematics and Dynamics - Galaxies: Starburst - Galaxies: Stellar Content - Infrared: Galaxies

Simbad objects: 14

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