Astrophys. J., Suppl. Ser., 197, 27 (2011/December-0)
Spitzer IRS spectral mapping of the Toomre sequence: spatial variations of PAH, gas, and dust properties in nearby major mergers.
HAAN S., ARMUS L., LAINE S., CHARMANDARIS V., SMITH J.D., SCHWEIZER F., BRANDL B., EVANS A.S., SURACE J.A., DIAZ-SANTOS T., BEIRAO P., MURPHY E.J., STIERWALT S., HIBBARD J.E., YUN M. and JARRETT T.H.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have mapped the key mid-IR diagnostics in eight major merger systems of the Toomre sequence (NGC 4676, NGC 7592, NGC 6621, NGC 2623, NGC 6240, NGC 520, NGC 3921, and NGC 7252) using the Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph. With these maps, we explore the variation of the ionized-gas, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), and warm gas (H2) properties across the sequence and within the galaxies. While the global PAH interband strength and ionized gas flux ratios ([Ne III]/[Ne II]) are similar to those of normal star-forming galaxies, the distribution of the spatially resolved PAH and fine structure line flux ratios is significantly different from one system to the other. Rather than a constant H2/PAH flux ratio, we find that the relation between the H2 and PAH fluxes is characterized by a power law with a roughly constant exponent (0.61±0.05) over all merger components and spatial scales. While following the same power law on local scales, three galaxies have a factor of 10 larger integrated (i.e., global) H2/PAH flux ratio than the rest of the sample, even larger than what it is in most nearby active galactic nuclei. These findings suggest a common dominant excitation mechanism for H2 emission over a large range of global H2/PAH flux ratios in major mergers. Early-merger systems show a different distribution between the cold (CO J = 1-0) and warm (H2) molecular gas components, which is likely due to the merger interaction. Strong evidence for buried star formation in the overlap region of the merging galaxies is found in two merger systems (NGC 6621 and NGC 7592) as seen in the PAH, [Ne II], [Ne III], and warm gas line emission, but with no apparent corresponding CO (J = 1-0) emission. The minimum of the 11.3/7.7 µm PAH interband strength ratio is typically located in the nuclei of galaxies, while the [Ne III/[Ne II] ratio increases with distance from the nucleus. Our findings also demonstrate that the variations of the physical conditions within a merger are much larger than any systematic trends along the Toomre sequence.
galaxies: evolution - galaxies: individual : NGC 4676 - galaxies: individual : NGC 7592 - galaxies: individual : NGC 6621 - galaxies: individual : NGC 2623 - galaxies: individual : NGC 6240 - galaxies: individual : NGC 520 - galaxies: individual : NGC 3921 - galaxies: individual : NGC 7252 - galaxies: interactions - galaxies: starburst - ISM: molecules
Table 2: [HAL2011] NGC NNNN W N=9, [HAL2011] NGC 6621 Middle N=1.
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