Astrophys. J., 751, 11 (2012/May-3)
Detection of powerful Mid-IR H2 emission in the bridge between the taffy galaxies.
PETERSON B.W., APPLETON P.N., HELOU G., GUILLARD P., JARRETT T.H., CLUVER M.E., OGLE P., STRUCK C. and BOULANGER F.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report the detection of strong, resolved emission from warm H2 in the Taffy galaxies and bridge. Relative to the continuum and faint polyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission, the H2 emission is the strongest in the connecting bridge, approaching L(H2)/L(PAH 8 µm) = 0.1 between the two galaxies, where the purely rotational lines of H2 dominate the mid-infrared spectrum in a way very reminiscent of the group-wide shock in the interacting group Stephan's Quintet (SQ). The surface brightness in the 0-0 S(0) and S(1) H2 lines in the bridge is more than twice that observed at the center of the SQ shock. We observe a warm H2 mass of 4.2x108 M☉ in the bridge, but taking into account the unobserved bridge area, the total warm mass is likely to be twice this value. We use excitation diagrams to characterize the warm molecular gas, finding an average surface mass of ∼5 x106 M☉/kpc2 and typical excitation temperatures of 150-175 K. H2 emission is also seen in the galaxy disks, although there the emission is more consistent with normal star-forming galaxies. We investigate several possible heating mechanisms for the bridge gas but favor the conversion of kinetic energy from the head-on collision via turbulence and shocks as the main heating source. Since the cooling time for the warm H2 is short (∼5000 yr), shocks must be permeating the molecular gas in the bridge region in order to continue heating the H2.
galaxies: individual (UGC 12914, UGC 12915) - galaxies: interactions - intergalactic medium
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