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Observations and Models of Star Formation in the Tidal Features of Interacting Galaxies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2016

John F. Wallin
Affiliation:
Space Science Division, Naval Research Laboratory
James M. Schombert
Affiliation:
Dept. of Astronomy, Univ. of Michigan
Curtis Struck-Marcell
Affiliation:
Astronomy Program, Dept. of Physics, Iowa State University
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Abstract

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Multi-color surface photometry (BVri) is presented for the tidal features in a sample of interacting galaxies. Large color variations are found between the morphological components and within the individual components. The blue colors in the primary and the tidal features are most dramatic in B-V, and not in V- i indicating that star formation instead of metallicity or age dominates the colors. Color variations between components is larger in systems shortly after interaction begins and diminishes to a very low level in systems which are merged. Photometric models for interacting systems are presented which suggest that a weak burst of star formation in the tidal features could cause the observed color distributions. Dynamical models indicate that compression occurs during the development of tidal features causing an increase in the local density by a factor of between 1.5 and 5. Assuming this density increase can be related to the star formation rate by a Schmidt law, the density increases observed in the dynamical models may be responsible for the variations in color seen in some of the interacting systems. Limitations of the dynamical models are also discussed.

Type
IX. Theory of Interaction Stimulated Effects
Copyright
Copyright © NASA 1990

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