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2017ApJ...840....8S - Astrophys. J., 840, 8-8 (2017/May-1)

Luminous infrared galaxies with the submillimeter array. V. Molecular gas in intermediate to late-stage mergers.


Abstract (from CDS):

We present new high-resolution ALMA (13CO J = 1-0 and J = 2-1) and CARMA (12CO and 13CO J = 1-0) observations of two luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs), Arp 55 and NGC 2623. The new data are complementary to published and archival submillimeter array observations of 12CO J = 2-1 and J = 3-2. We perform a Bayesian likelihood non-local thermodynamic equilibrium analysis to constrain the molecular gas physical conditions such as temperature, column, and volume densities and the [12CO]/[13CO] abundance ratio. For Arp 55, an early/intermediate-staged merger, the line measurements are consistent with cold (∼10-20 K), dense (>103.5 cm–3) molecular gas. For NGC 2623, the molecular gas is warmer (∼110 K) and less dense (∼102.7 cm–3). Because Arp 55 is an early/intermediate stage merger, while NGC 2623 is a merger remnant, the difference in physical conditions may be an indicator of merger stage. Comparing the temperature and volume density of several LIRGs shows that the molecular gas, averaged over ∼kiloparsec scales, of advanced mergers is in general warmer and less dense than early/intermediate stage mergers. We also find that the [12CO]/[13CO] abundance ratio of NGC 2623 is unusually high (>250) when compared with the Milky Way; however, it follows a trend seen with other LIRGs in the literature. This high [12CO]/[13CO] value is very likely due to stellar nucleosynthesis enrichment of the interstellar medium. On the other hand, Arp 55 has a more Galactic [12CO]/[13CO] value with the most probable [12CO]/[13CO] value being 20-30. We measure the CO-to-H2 conversion factor, αCO, to be ∼0.1 and ∼0.7 (3 x 10–4/xCO) M (K km s–1 pc2)–1 for Arp 55 and NGC 2623, respectively. Because Arp 55 is an early/intermediate-stage merger, this suggests that the transition from a Galactic conversion factor to a LIRG value happens at an even earlier merger stage.

Abstract Copyright: © 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: abundances - galaxies: individual: (NGC 2623, Arp 55) - galaxies: interactions - galaxies: starburst - submillimeter: galaxies - submillimeter: galaxies

Simbad objects: 19

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