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2010MNRAS.406.1364L - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 406, 1364-1378 (2010/August-1)

A CO(3-2) survey of a merging sequence of luminous infrared galaxies.


Abstract (from CDS):

Luminous infrared galaxies (LIR> 1011L) are often associated with interacting galactic systems and are thought to be powered by merger-induced starbursts and/or dust-enshrouded active galactic nucleus. In such systems, the evolution of the dense, star-forming molecular gas as a function of merger separation is of particular interest. Here, we present observations of the CO(3-2) emission from a sample of luminous infrared galaxy mergers that span a range of galaxy-galaxy separations. The excitation of the molecular gas is studied by examining the CO(3-2)/CO(1-0) line ratio, r31, as a function of merger extent. We find these line ratios, r31, to be consistent with kinetic temperatures of Tk= (30-50)K and gas densities of. We also find weak correlations between r31 and both merger progression and star formation efficiency [LFIR/LCO(1–0)]. These correlations show a tendency for gas excitation to increase as the merger progresses and the star formation efficiency rises. To conclude, we calculate the contributions of the CO(3-2) line to the 850-µm fluxes measured with SCUBA (Submillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array), which are seen to be significant (∼22 per cent).

Abstract Copyright: © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS

Journal keyword(s): ISM: molecules - galaxies: interactions - galaxies: ISM - galaxies: starburst - infrared: galaxies

Simbad objects: 33

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