NASA/IPAC EXTRAGALACTIC DATABASE
Date and Time of the Query: 2019-06-24 T14:51:51 PDT
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For refcode 1999AJ....118.2625R:
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1999AJ....118.2625R A LARGE MID-INFRARED SPECTROSCOPIC AND NEAR-INFRARED IMAGING SURVEY OF ULTRALUMINOUS INFRARED GALAXIES: THEIR NATURE AND EVOLUTION D. RIGOPOULOU, H. W. W. SPOON, R. GENZEL, D. LUTZ, A. F. M. MOORWOOD, AND Q. D. TRAN Received 1999 July 15; accepted 1999 August 25 ABSTRACT We present a low-resolution mid-infrared spectroscopic survey of an unbiased sample of 62 ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) (L_IR_ > 10^12^L_sun_, z <= 0.3) using ISOPHOT-S on board the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). For comparison, we also present ISOPHOT-S spectra for 23 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and 15 starburst and normal galaxies. The line-to-continuum ratio of the 7.7 micron polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission feature is used as a discriminator between starburst and AGN activity in ULIRGs. We find that the majority of ULIRGs are predominantly powered by starbursts. The ratio of PAH over infrared luminosities, L_PAH_/L_IR_, for starburst-dominated ULIRGs is very similar to the ratio found for template starbursts. The shapes of the PAH features are sometimes unusual. Extinction has a noticeable effect on the PAH spectra of ULIRG starbursts. We have obtained high-resolution near-infrared imaging for the southern ISOPHOT-S ULIRGs in order to investigate their evolution stage. The majority (68%) of the ULIRGs imaged are double systems, and all show distorted morphologies. Of the 23 double-nuclei systems, 17 appear at linear separations between 4 and 14 kpc, with a mean separation of 6.5 kpc. Using the separations measured from our new near-infrared imaging as well as from the literature, we have examined whether ULIRGs that are advanced mergers are more AGN-like. We have found no such evidence, contrary to what is postulated by the classical evolutionary scenario. No correlation is found between the stage of merger in ULIRGs and their infrared luminosity. In fact, we find that systems in the early stages of merging may well put out maximum luminosity. We also find that the total mass of interstellar gas, as estimated from the CO (1 -> 0) luminosity, does not decrease with decreasing merger separation. When both an AGN and a starburst occur concurrently in ULIRGs, we find that the starburst dominates the luminosity output. We propose that the available gas reservoir and the individual structure of the interacting galaxies plays a major role in the evolution of the system. Key words: galaxies: active-galaxies: starburst-infrared radiation
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