PI: Daniel H. McIntosh, University of Missouri-Kansas City, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Physics Department, 5110 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO 64110, USA
CoI: Xiachang Her, University of Missouri-Kansas City
CoI: Heather Sprigler, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Title: Spectroscopy of Gas-rich Major Mergers from the SDSS
Abstract: Gas-rich major galaxy mergers, leading to starbursts and then to quiescent massive spheroidal galaxies, are postulated to be a central mechanism in explaining the growth of the `red-sequence' population since z~1. Yet, merger rate constraints are severely limited by the merger visibility timescale, which depends critically on the complex space of merger properties. To improve our understanding of merger timescales requires careful comparisons between merger simulations and large numbers of ongoing interactions. With the SDSS we have identified statistically useful samples of gas-rich interaction snapshots from the nearby universe. Unfortunately, 40% of these mergers have no spectrum for one (or both) of the interacting galaxies. Here we propose 4760- 7240Aspectroscopy of 30 blue merger progenitors, and 3760-6240\AA\ spectroscopy of 15 red galaxies (in 'mixed' mergers), using the GoldCam Spectrometer on the 2.1-meter. This data will efficiently improve the statistics of gas-rich mergers at low-redshift, and provide better constraints of their dependence on host environment and nuclear activity.
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