NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0377

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0377


PI: Barry Rothberg, George Mason University, dr.barry.rothberg@gmail.com
Address: Department of Physics & Astronomy, MS 3F3 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA

CoI: Jacqueline Fischer, Naval Research Laboratory
CoI: Myriam Rodrigues, European Southern Observatory

Title: \centering The Evolution of Monsters: Measuring the True Sizes of ULIRGS

Abstract: QSOs reside in massive, metal-enhanced elliptical host galaxies. Many Luminous and all Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies ((U)LIRGs) are likely gas-rich galaxy mergers in the process of becoming ellipticals. Recent work has suggested the sizes and masses of (U)LIRGs are too small for them to evolve into the massive host galaxies of QSOs. However, such claims are based \it solely on near-IR (1.6 or 2.2 \micron) measurements. Recently, we have demonstrated that near-IR measurements severely underestimate the sizes and masses of LIRGs because the presence of Red Supergiants and/or Asymptotic Giant Branch stars adversely affects dynamical measurements at these wavelengths. Instead, we have found \it I-band (0.8 \micron) is ideally suited for measuring the true sizes and masses of LIRGs. The vast quantities of gas and high star-formation rates of ULIRGs make them ideal candidates to become QSO host galaxies. Using a complete sample of ULIRGs (z <=0.15) we have begun a program to measure the sizes and masses of these objects at \it I-band. The goal of this proposal is to complete the restframe \it I-band observations of our sample using MiniMo on WIYN. We will use the data to measure \it I-band luminosities, half- light radii, and surface brightnesses. These will then be combined with velocity dispersion measurements of the Calcium II Triplet stellar absorption lines obtained with VLT & Keck to measure the \it true dynamical masses of ULIRGs.


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