NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0355

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0355


PI: Iraklis Konstantopoulos, Penn State University, iraklis@astro.psu.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 525 Davey Lab, University Park, PA 16802, USA

CoI: Nate Bastian, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge
CoI: Jane Charlton, Penn State University
CoI: Sarah Gallagher, University of Western Ontario
CoI: Karen Knierman, Arizona State University
CoI: Brendan Mullan, Penn State University
CoI: Mark Westmoquette, University College London

Title: Testing star formation and galaxy evolution through the tidal tails of interacting galaxies

Abstract: Galaxies in the local universe commonly evolve through encounters, interactions and mergers. An enormous variety of such occasions has been observed, typically resulting in increased star formation activity throughout the systems involved. Apart from driving the morphological transformation of these galaxies, interactions also lead to the ejection of tidal debris into intergalactic space. Interestingly, star cluster formation appears to be proceeding in most, if not all, of these tails, despite the supposed quiescence of the environment. As part of our multi-wavelength, optical (\textitHST) and H \sc i (VLA) survey to examine such interacting systems, we propose to obtain H(alpha) maps of the tidal tails of a sample of 12 interacting galaxies. This would provide a direct measure of the local tidal tail star formation rates, as well as a statistical understanding of the \textitHST-observed cluster populations and the physics that shape them. This would also be immensely valuable in planning future spectroscopic observations that will probe the conditions governing the local ISM (e. g. density and pressure) and provide observational constraints on the modeling of tidal tail evolution.


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