EDP Sciences
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Volume 388, Number 2, June III 2002
Page(s) 407 - 424
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020461

A&A 388, 407-424 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020461

Luminosity profiles of advanced mergers of galaxies using 2MASS data

A. Chitre and C. J. Jog

Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India
    e-mail: cjjog@physics.iisc.ernet.in

(Received 16 November 2001 / Accepted 8 March 2002 )

A sample of 27 disturbed galaxies that show signs of interaction but have a single nucleus were selected from the Arp and the Arp-Madore catalogues. For these, the $K_{\rm s}$ band images from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) are analysed to obtain their radial luminosity profiles and other structural parameters. We find that in spite of their similar optical appearance, the sample galaxies vary in their dynamical properties, and fall into two distinct classes. The first class consists of galaxies which can be described by a single r1/4 law and the second class consists of galaxies that show an outer exponential disk. A few galaxies that have disturbed profiles cannot be fit into either of the above classes. However, all the galaxies are similar in all other parameters such as the far-infrared colours, the molecular hydrogen content and the central velocity dispersion. Thus, the dynamical parameters of these sets seem to be determined by the ratio of the initial masses of the colliding galaxies. We propose that the galaxies in the first class result from a merger of spiral galaxies of equal masses whereas the second class of galaxies results from a merger of unequal mass galaxies. The few objects that do not fall into either category show a disturbed luminosity profile and a wandering centre, which is indicative of these being unrelaxed mergers. Of the 27 galaxies in our sample, 9 show elliptical-like profiles and 13 show an outer exponential. Interestingly, Arp 224, the second oldest merger remnant of the Toomre sequence shows an exponential disk in the outer parts.

Key words: galaxies: kinematics and dynamics -- galaxies: evolution -- galaxies: interactions -- galaxies: photometry  -- galaxies: structure

Offprint request: A. Chitre, aparna@physics.iisc.ernet.in

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