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: Jennifer Nielsen, University of Missouri-Kansas City
CoI: Andrew Cooper, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Title: Spectroscopic Confirmation of the Ongoing Assembly of Giant Ellipticals
Abstract: Major gas-poor (so-called 'dry') mergers are postulated to be a central mechanism in explaining the assembly of the giant ellipticals found at the tip of the galaxy mass function (M_*>10^11 M_\odot). Yet, late epoch mergers are rare and their signatures are fleeting, and only with SDSS could we recently establish a sample of nearby systems that appear caught in the act of merging two massive red galaxies. Unfortunately, 70% of these mergers have no spectrum for one of the interacting galaxies, which severely limits further analysis of this important population. Here we propose 3760-6240Aspectroscopy of 13 merger progenitors using the GoldCam Spectrometer on the 2.1- meter. These observations will supplement similar observations for 12 additional galaxies scheduled for Dec. 2010, complete this unique sample of local massive dry mergers, and provide improved statistics on their relative recessional velocity differences and dynamical mass ratios.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360