NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0605

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0605


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

CoI: Adam R. McConnell, University of Missouri-Kansas City
CoI: Anna Pasquali, MPIA
CoI: Andrew Cooper, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Title: Survey of Massive Galaxy Pairs in Local Groups

Abstract: Major gas-poor (so-called 'dry') mergers are postulated to be a central mechanism in explaining the assembly of giant ellipticals. Using the SDSS Group Catalogue, we isolated a \it unique sample of 50 major pairs of galaxies in close projection, each with combined mass in excess of 10^11 M_\odot and belonging to a common host group. Eleven of these systems appear to be an ongoing merger, yet, the signatures of such interactions are fleeting and these identifications are near the limit of detection with the SDSS. Here we propose deep V- band imaging of this complete and volume-limited sample of massive co- group pairs with Mini-Mosaic on the 3.5-meter WIYN. Observations that are \it five times deeper than the SDSS will provide conclusive evidence for the important nature of the 11 previously identified interactions, and constrain the \it frequency of bonafide dry mergers among close projected pairs of massive galaxies as a function of group mass.


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