Investigating Merger-Induced Star Formation with Resolved Spectroscopy

Date

2022-09-08

Authors

Galicia Lozano, Ana Paula

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Abstract

Galaxy mergers are very chaotic events which have been proven, both with observational (Ellison et al. 2008, Thorp et al. 2019) and simulation (Barnes & Hernquist 1991, Hopkins et al. 2013) studies, to drastically alter the morphologies and star formation rates (SFRs) of galaxies. Correspondingly, secular starbursts also exist, showing extreme star formation rates but no sign of a recent merger event. The aim of the project was to determine whether merger starbursts are different from secular starbursts by comparing the average offset in star formation surface densities (ΔΣSFR) of both groups. Using data products from the SDSS Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) newest data release (DR17), we study the average radial profiles of 175 visually classified starburst post-mergers and compare them to the average radial distributions of a control group consisting of secular starburst galaxies. We find that galaxy mergers trigger star formation in their constituents and that post-merger starbursts have, on average, central ΔΣSFR enhancements of ∼0.2 dex and up to ∼0.6 dex in comparison to the average secular starburst behavior. We therefore conclude that starbursts created by interactions are unique in comparison to those created by other secular processes.

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Keywords

galaxies, galaxy mergers, star formation, starbursts, star formation rate, resolved spectroscopy

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