Volume 453, Number 3, July III 2006
|Page(s)||847 - 861|
|Published online||28 June 2006|
Witnessing galaxy preprocessing in the local Universe: the case of a star-bursting group falling into Abell 1367
Universitá degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, P.zza della Scienza 3, 20126 Milano, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, BP8, Traverse du Siphon, 13376 Marseille, France
3 IASF - INAF, Sezione di Milano, via E. Bassini 15, 20133 Milano, Italy
4 Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HA, UK
5 NRAO, PO Box 2, Green Bank, WV 24944, USA
6 Department of Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1562, USA
Accepted: 13 March 2006
We present a multiwavelength analysis of a compact group of galaxies infalling at high speed into the dynamically young cluster Abell 1367. Peculiar morphologies and unusually high Hα emission are associated with two giant galaxies and at least ten dwarfs/extragalactic HII regions, making this group the region with the highest density of star formation activity ever observed in the local clusters. Moreover Hα imaging observations reveal extraordinary complex trails of ionized gas behind the galaxies, with projected lengths exceeding 150 kpc. These unique cometary trails mark the gaseous trajectory of galaxies, witnessing their dive into the hot cluster intergalactic medium. Under the combined action of tidal forces among group members and the ram-pressure by the cluster ambient medium, the group galaxies were fragmented and the ionized gas was blown out. The properties of this group suggest that environmental effects within infalling groups may have represented a preprocessing step of the galaxy evolution during the high redshift cluster assembly phase.
Key words: galaxies: evolution / galaxies: clusters: individual: Abell 1367 / galaxies: interactions / galaxies: intergalactic medium
© ESO, 2006
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