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Gas Flows in Galaxies: the Relative Importance of Mergers and Bars.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2011

Sara L. Ellison
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, V8P 1A1, Canada
David R. Patton
Affiliation:
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 7B8, Canada
Preethi Nair
Affiliation:
INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Bologna, Via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy.
Luc Simard
Affiliation:
National Research Council of Canada, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, 5071 West Saanich Road, Victoria, British Columbia, V9E 2E7, Canada
J. Trevor Mendel
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, V8P 1A1, Canada
Alan W. McConnachie
Affiliation:
National Research Council of Canada, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, 5071 West Saanich Road, Victoria, British Columbia, V9E 2E7, Canada
Jillian M. Scudder
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, V8P 1A1, Canada
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Abstract

Galaxy-galaxy interactions and large scale galaxy bars are usually considered as the two main mechanisms for driving gas to the centres of galaxies. By using large samples of galaxy pairs and visually classified bars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), we compare the relative efficiency of gas inflows from these two processes. We use two indicators of gas inflow: star formation rate (SFR) and gas phase metallicity, which are both measured relative to control samples. Whereas the metallicity of galaxy pairs is suppressed relative to its control sample of isolated galaxies, galaxies with bars are metal-rich for their stellar mass by 0.06 dex over all stellar masses. The SFRs of both the close galaxy pairs and the barred galaxies are enhanced by ~60%, but in the bars the enhancement is only seen at stellar masses M∗ > 1010 M. Taking into account the relative frequency of bars and pairs, we estimate that at least three times more central star formation is triggered by bars than by interactions.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2011

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