NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2008A-0504

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Proposal Information for 2008A-0504


PI: Tomer Tal, Yale University, tomer.tal@yale.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, P.O. Box 208101, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

CoI: Jeffrey D.P. Kenney, Yale University

Title: H(alpha) Imaging of Virgo Ellipticals

Abstract: We propose to obtain deep H(alpha) Mosaic images of three Virgo giant elliptical galaxies. Mosaic images of the Virgo elliptical M86 show a remarkable set of complex H(alpha) filaments, connecting the galaxy to the spiral NGC 4438, which is ~23' away. This is the first time that such a connection has been observed, and it suggests a recent collision between the galaxies. These features reveal important clues to the origin of warm ionized gas in elliptical galaxies, how it is heated, and how it relates to the other phases of the ISM. Previous models explained the presence of 10^4 K plasma in ellipticals with cooling flows, but were not successful in predicting the observed distribution and morphology of the gas. We wish to extend our sample to three additional galaxies, for which other available data suggest probable recent gravitational interactions. These galaxies are three of the most massive ellipticals in Virgo, and they each have one or more physically and kinematically associated companions. Observing these galaxies can help us shed light on this important, yet not understood phenomenon.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2008A-0504

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