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What Powers Ultra-Luminous IRAS Galaxies?

  • R.B. Partridge (a1) (a2), J. Marr (a1) (a2), T. Crawford (a1) (a2) and M. Strauss (a1) (a2)

Extract

I report here centimeter–wavelength observations carried out at the Very Large Array (VLA) to help resolve two questions. First, what is the source of the far infrared (FIR) emission in infrared-luminous IRAS galaxies, active nuclei or more widely distributed star formation? And what physics underlies the tight correlation (Helou et al., 1985) between FIR and radio flux? To test potential answers to these questions, we believe it is important to study the most luminous IRAS galaxies. We selected 39 for study from the ultraluminous catalog of Strauss et al.(1990 and 1992). All sources had FIR luminosity ≥ 1011.4 L. Radio wavelength observations of these systems provide several advantages. First, in the radio there is no obscuration, so we can “see” the active galactic nuclei, if present. Radio spectral indices can distinguish between synchrotron and thermal emission. And finally, observations at the VLA provide sub–kpc resolution. We observed these sources with the VLA in its C configuration. At 1460 MHz, the effective resolution was ≃ 15″; and ≃ 4″ at 4860 MHz. We made follow-up observations on 24 sources in the A configuration with resolution at 4860 MHz of ≃ 0″.5 (or 300–800 h–1 pc for these sources).

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References

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Condon, J. J., Huang, Z.-P., Yin, Q. F., and Thuan, T. X. 1991, Ap. J. 378, 65.
Crawford, T., Marr, J., Partridge, B., and Strauss, M. 1996, “VLA Observations of Ultraluminous IRAS Galaxies: Active Nuclei or Starbursts?” Ap. J. , March 20 issue.
Helou, G., and Bicay, M. D. 1993, Ap. J. 415, 93.
Helou, G., Soifer, B. T., and Rowan-Robinson, M. 1985, Ap. J. (Letters) 298, L7.
Norris, R. P., Allen, D. A., Sramek, R. A., Kesteven, M. J., and Troup, E. R. 1990, Ap. J. 359, 291.
Strauss, M. A., Davis, M., Yahil, A., and Huchra, J. P. 1990, Ap. J. 361, 49.
Strauss, M. A., Huchra, J. P., Davis, M., Yahil, A., Fisher, K. B., and Tonry, J. 1992, Ap. J. Suppl. 83, 29.

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