A census of Hα emitters in the intergalactic medium of the NGC 2865 system⋆
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748
2 Instituto de Astronomia, Geofì-sica e Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão 1226, Cidade Universitària, 05508–900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85741 Garching, Germany
4 Departamento de Física, Universidad de La Serena, Av. Cisternas 1200 Norte, La Serena, Chile
5 Gemini Observatory/AURA, Southern Operations Center, Casilla 603 La Serena, Chile
6 Physics Department, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064, USA
7 Observational Cosmology Laboratory, Code 665, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Accepted: 5 June 2014
Tidal debris, which are rich in HI gas and formed in interacting and merging systems, are suitable laboratories to study star formation outside galaxies. Recently, several such systems were observed, which contained many young star forming regions outside the galaxies. In previous works, we have studied young star forming regions outside galaxies in different systems with optical and/or gaseous tidal debris, in order to understand how often they occur and in which type of environments. In this paper, we searched for star forming regions around the galaxy NGC 2865, a shell galaxy that is circled by a ring of HI with a total mass of 1.2 × 109 M⊙. Using the multi-slit imaging spectroscopy technique with the Gemini telescope, we detected all Hα emitting sources in the surroundings of the galaxy NGC 2865, down to a flux limit of 10-18 erg cm-2 s-1 Å-1. With the spectra information and the near and far-ultraviolet flux, we characterize the star formation rates, masses, ages, and metallicities for these HII regions. In total, we found 26 emission-line sources in a 60 × 60 Kpc field centered over the southeastern tail of the HI gas present around the galaxy NGC 2865. Out of the 26 Hα emitters, 19 are in the satellite galaxy FGCE 0745, and seven are intergalactic HII regions scattered over the south tail of the HI gas around NGC 2865. We found that the intergalactic HII regions are young (<200 Myr) with stellar masses in the range 4 × 103 M⊙ to 17 × 106 M⊙. These are found in a region of low HI gas density, where the probability of forming stars is expected to be low. For one of the intergalactic HII regions, we estimated a solar oxygen abundance of 12 + log(O/H) ~ 8.7. We also were able to estimate the metallicity for the satellite galaxy FGCE 0745 to be 12 + log(O/H) ~ 8.0. Given these physical parameters, the intergalactic HII regions are consistent with young star forming regions (or clusters), which are born in situ outside the NGC 2865 galaxy from a pre-enriched gas removed from the host galaxies in a merger event. The relevance of these observations is discussed.
Key words: ISM: abundances / HII regions / galaxies: individual: NGC 2865 / galaxies: dwarf / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: star formation
Based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia (Brazil) and Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (Argentina) - Observing runs: GS-2008A-Q-35.
© ESO, 2014