NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0056

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0056


PI: Daniel H. McIntosh, University of Missouri-Kansas City, mcintoshdh@umkc.edu
Address: Physics Department, 5110 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO 64110, USA

CoI: Jennifer Nielsen, University of Missouri-Kansas City
CoI: Andrew Cooper, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Title: Spectroscopic Confirmation of the Ongoing Assembly of Giant Ellipticals

Abstract: Major gas-poor (so-called 'dry') mergers are postulated to be a central mechanism in explaining the assembly of the giant ellipticals found at the tip of the galaxy mass function (M_*>10^11 M_\odot). Yet, late epoch mergers are rare and their signatures are fleeting, and only with SDSS could we recently establish a sample of nearby systems that appear caught in the act of merging two massive red galaxies. Unfortunately, 70% of these mergers have no spectrum for one of the interacting galaxies, which severely limits further analysis of this important population. Here we propose 3700-5900Aspectroscopy of 25 merger progenitors using the GoldCam Spectrometer on the 2.1- meter. These observations will complete this unique sample of local massive dry mergers, and provide improved statistics on their relative recessional velocity differences and dynamical mass ratios.


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