NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0197

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0197


PI: Jason Melbourne, California Institute of Technology, jmel@caltech.edu
Address: Physics Department, Division of PMA, Caltech MS 320-47, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

CoI: Lee Armus, Spitzer Science Center
CoI: Justin Howell, Spitzer Science Center
CoI: Jason Surace, Spitzer Science Center
CoI: Joe Mazzarella, IPAC

Title: Resolving Sources of Mid-IR Flux in Luminous Infrared Disk Galaxies

Abstract: Dust emission in Luminous Infrared Galaxies (LIRGs) produces total IR luminosities in excess of 10^11 L_\odot. In the local universe the LIRG population is dominated by mergers, especially at the high luminosity end. Mergers drive central star formation and AGN activity both of which heat dust. At lower luminosities, however, 50% of LIRGs appear to be morphologically normal disk galaxies, and the fraction of LIRGs classfied as disks increases to higher redshifts (i.e. z=1). Spitzer imaging shows that within their extended disks, the LIRGs have similar dust properties as normal disk galaxies. However dust in the cores of LIRG disks shows additional heating. We propose to image LIRG disks with TReCS and Michelle in both the 8.8(micron) PAH feature and in a broad 18(micron) filter to localize the regions producing the dust heating in the cores of low redshift LIRG disks. TReCS on Gemini will provide a factor of 10 improvement in resolution over Spitzer, allowing us to differenciate between dust heated in extended regions from dust heated in a point-like nuclear core.


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