HST NICMOS imaging of z ∼ 2, 24 µm-selected ultraluminous infrared galaxies.
DASYRA K.M., YAN L., HELOU G., SURACE J., SAJINA A. and COLBERT J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS H-band imaging of 33 ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) at z∼2 that were selected from the 24 µm catalog of the Spitzer Extragalactic First Look Survey. The images reveal that at least 17 of the 33 objects are associated with interactions. Up to one-fifth of the sources in our sample could be minor mergers, whereas only two systems are merging binaries with luminosity ratio ≤3:1, which is characteristic of local ULIRGs. The rest-frame optical luminosities of the sources are of the order 1010-1011 L☉ and their effective radii range from 1.4 to 4.9 kpc. The most compact sources are either those with a strong active nucleus continuum or those with a heavy obscuration in the mid-infrared regime, as determined from Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph data. The luminosity of the 7.7 µm feature produced by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules varies significantly among compact systems, whereas it is typically large for extended systems. A bulge-to-disk decomposition performed for the six brightest (mH<20) sources in our sample indicates that they are best fit by disklike profiles with small or negligible bulges, unlike the bulge-dominated remnants of local ULIRGs. Our results provide evidence that the interactions associated with ultraluminous infrared activity at z∼2 can differ from those at z∼0.