NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016A-0310

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Program Information for 2016A-0310


PI: Sandra Liss, U. of Virginia, sel7pa@virginia.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, PO BOX 3818, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA 22903-0818 USA

CoI: Kelsey Johnson, U. of Virginia
CoI: Sabrina Stierwalt, U. of Virginia
CoI: Gurtina Besla, U. of Arizona
CoI: Nitya Kallivayalil, U. of Virginia
CoI: Dave Patton, Trent University
CoI: George Privon, Universidad de Concepcion

Title: Star Clusters in Interacting Dwarf Galaxies

Abstract: We propose to use GMOS-N on Gemini North to obtain narrowband H$alpha$ imaging of 29 interacting dwarf galaxy pairs in order to understand the distribution of star formation within these systems. Galaxy interactions are of fundamental importance to the evolution of massive galaxies and have been observed to impact morphology, ISM composition, and star formation rates. Such interactions also occur frequently between low mass dwarf galaxies, but this process is poorly understood and largely overlooked in comparison. A systematic study of dwarf-dwarf mergers has never been done, and we wish to characterize the impact such interactions have on fueling star formation. Specifically, it is unclear how interactions between dwarf galaxies may affect the formation of massive star clusters. Whether or not star clusters have a power-law mass distribution in these environments has fundamental implications for the formation of globular clusters and the impact of stellar feedback at early times in the universe. The deep, high resolution H$alpha$ imaging proposed here will allow us to determine (1) the total star formation rates in the sample of interacting dwarf galaxies, and the extent to which this is varies with pair separation; (2) where the star formation is taking place in the galaxies, (i.e. whether it is smooth or clumpy, centrally concentrated or distributed throughout the galaxy); and (3) the luminosity function of the star-forming clumps present in these environments. The sensitivity and resolution offered by Gemini is necessary to detect star forming regions down to a stellar mass of ^3 M_$ at a spatial resolution matched to the native size of giant molecular clouds.

Program Type: Standard/Extragalactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2016A):  GEM-NQ/GMOSN -- 11.6hrs band 1 (GN-2016A-Q-16)


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016A-0310

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