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The effect of galaxy interactions on molecular gas properties

Pan, Hsi-An, Lin, Lihwai, Hsieh, Bau-Ching, Xiao, Ting, Gao, Yang, Ellison, Sara L., Scudder, Jillian M., Barrera-Ballesteros, Jorge, Yuan, Fangting, Saintonge, Amelie, Wilson, Christine D., Hwang, Ho Seong, Looze, Ilse De, Gao, Yu, Ho, Luis C., Brinks, Elias, Mok, Angus, Brown, Toby, Davis, Timothy.A., Williams, Thomas G., Chung, Aeree, Parsons, Harriet, Bureau, Martin, Sargent, Mark T., Chung, Eun Jung, Kim, Eunbin, Liu, Tie, Michalowski, Michael J. and Tosaki, Tomoka 2018. The effect of galaxy interactions on molecular gas properties. Astrophysical Journal 868 (2) , 132. 10.3847/1538-4357/aaeb92

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Abstract

Galaxy interactions are often accompanied by an enhanced star formation rate (SFR). Since molecular gas is essential for star formation, it is vital to establish whether, and by how much, galaxy interactions affect the molecular gas properties. We investigate the effect of interactions on global molecular gas properties by studying a sample of 58 galaxies in pairs and 154 control galaxies. Molecular gas properties are determined from observations with the JCMT, PMO, CSO telescopes, and supplemented with data from the xCOLD GASS and JINGLE surveys at 12CO(1–0) and 12CO(2–1). The SFR, gas mass (MH2), and gas fraction (fgas) are all enhanced in galaxies in pairs by ∼ 2.5 times compared to the controls matched in redshift, mass, and effective radius, while the enhancement of star formation efficiency (SFE ≡ SFR/MH2 ) is less than a factor of 2. We also find that the enhancements hapan@asiaa.sinica.edu.tw 2 Pan et al. in SFR, MH2 and fgas increase with decreasing pair separation and are larger in systems with smaller stellar mass ratio. Conversely, the SFE is only enhanced in close pairs (separation < 20 kpc) and equal-mass systems; therefore most galaxies in pairs lie in the same parameter space on the SFR-MH2 plane as controls. This is the first time that the dependence of molecular gas properties on merger configurations is probed statistically with a relatively large sample and with a carefully-selected control sample for individual galaxies. We conclude that galaxy interactions do modify the molecular gas properties, although the strength of the effect is merger configuration dependent.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
ISSN: 0004-637X
Funders: STFC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 October 2018
Date of Acceptance: 23 October 2018
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2019 15:33
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/116161

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