NASA/IPAC EXTRAGALACTIC DATABASE
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For refcode 1988MNRAS.233....1W:
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Copyright by Royal Astronomical Society. 1988MNRAS.233....1W Recent star formation in interacting galaxies - III. Evidence from mid-infrared photometry G. S. Wright, R. D. Joseph, N. A. Robertson, P. A. James and W. P. S. Meikle Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ Accepted 1987 October 30. Received 1987 October 23; in original form 1987 June 5 Summary. In Paper I we used JHKL photometry of a sample of interacting galaxies to argue that interactions induce a burst of star formation in the nucleus of one member of the interacting pair with nearly 100 per cent efficiency. We have followed up this result by mid-infrared (10 and 20 micron) observations of a large fraction of this sample. We have added to these results existing mid-infrared data in the literature to obtain a comprehensive picture of the evidence for mid-infrared activity in the nuclear regions of interacting galaxies. We show that this information, combined with radio and optical data, provides a consistent picture of interaction-induced bursts of star formation in the central regions of these galaxies. Using a simple analytical starburst model we derive some of the quantitative features of these interaction-induced starbursts: they are unusually efficient in using available gas, and the initial mass function is heavily biased toward massive stars. The supernova rate and radio luminosity implied by this model are consistent with the observations. Finally we stress that, if the observed rate of interactions is representative, interaction-induced starbursts are likely to have occurred in the evolution of most galaxies. Such events may be related to other forms of activity in galactic nuclei.
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