Simulated galaxy interactions as probes of merger spectral energy distributions.
LANZ L., HAYWARD C.C., ZEZAS A., SMITH H.A., ASHBY M.L.N., BRASSINGTON N., FAZIO G.G. and HERNQUIST L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the first systematic comparison of ultraviolet-millimeter spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of observed and simulated interacting galaxies. Our sample is drawn from the Spitzer Interacting Galaxy Survey and probes a range of galaxy interaction parameters. We use 31 galaxies in 14 systems which have been observed with Herschel, Spitzer, GALEX, and 2MASS. We create a suite of GADGET-3 hydrodynamic simulations of isolated and interacting galaxies with stellar masses comparable to those in our sample of interacting galaxies. Photometry for the simulated systems is then calculated with the SUNRISE radiative transfer code for comparison with the observed systems. For most of the observed systems, one or more of the simulated SEDs match reasonably well. The best matches recover the infrared luminosity and the star formation rate of the observed systems, and the more massive systems preferentially match SEDs from simulations of more massive galaxies. The most morphologically distorted systems in our sample are best matched to the simulated SEDs that are close to coalescence, while less evolved systems match well with the SEDs over a wide range of interaction stages, suggesting that an SED alone is insufficient for identifying the interaction stage except during the most active phases in strongly interacting systems. This result is supported by our finding that the SEDs calculated for simulated systems vary little over the interaction sequence.
galaxies: interactions - galaxies: star formation - hydrodynamics - methods: numerical - methods: observational - radiative transfer