NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2006A-0499

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Proposal Information for 2006A-0499


PI: Henry C. Ferguson, Space Telescope Science Institute, ferguson@stsci.edu
Address: 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 20500, United States

CoI: Anatoly Suchkov, Space Telescope Science Institute
CoI: Ray Lucas, Space Telescope Science Institute

Title: A Search for Dusty Halos of Post-Starburst Galaxies

Abstract: The most vigorously star-forming objects known both locally and at high redshift are ultra-luminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGS). The infrared radiation from these galaxies comes from large quantities of dust heated by young stars. Elliptical galaxies appear to be the most likely descendents of ULIRGs. But what happened to the dust? The favored explanation is that supernova winds drive the dust out of the galaxy during the starburst phase. If so, and if the timescales for dust sputtering and evaporation are sufficiently long, we should expect to find dust at large radii surrounding relatively young merger remnants. We propose to measure counts and colors of background galaxies projected behind the halos of such galaxies to search for the expected attentuation due to a tenuous veil of dust. Finding such dusty halos would provide the smoking gun for the connection between ULIRGs and elliptical galaxies, and would provide crucial insight into dust migration and evolution after starbursts stop forming stars.


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