Volume 611, March 2018
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Published online||12 April 2018|
Lyman-continuum leakage as dominant source of diffuse ionized gas in the Antennae galaxy★
Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP),
An der Sternwarte 16,
2 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
3 Universidad de La Laguna, Dpto. Astrofísica, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
4 Université de Lyon, Univ. Lyon1, ENS de Lyon, CNRS, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon UMR5574, 69230 Saint-Genis-Laval, France
5 Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
6 Institut für Astrophysik, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
7 Department of Physics, ETH Zürich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
8 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands
9 Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24/25, 14476 Golm, Germany
Accepted: 13 December 2017
The Antennae galaxy (NGC 4038/39) is the closest major interacting galaxy system and is therefore often studied as a merger prototype. We present the first comprehensive integral field spectroscopic dataset of this system, observed with the MUSE instrument at the ESO VLT. We cover the two regions in this system which exhibit recent star formation: the central galaxy interaction and a region near the tip of the southern tidal tail. In these fields, we detect HII regions and diffuse ionized gas to unprecedented depth. About 15% of the ionized gas was undetected by previous observing campaigns. This newly detected faint ionized gas is visible everywhere around the central merger, and shows filamentary structure. We estimate diffuse gas fractions of about 60% in the central field and 10% in the southern region. We are able to show that the southern region contains a significantly different population of HII regions, showing fainter luminosities. By comparing HII region luminosities with the HST catalog of young star clusters in the central field, we estimate that there is enough Lyman-continuum leakage in the merger to explain the amount of diffuse ionized gas that we detect. We compare the Lyman-continuum escape fraction of each HII region against emission line ratios that are sensitive to the ionization parameter. While we find no systematic trend between these properties, the most extreme line ratios seem to be strong indicators of density bounded ionization. Extrapolating the Lyman-continuum escape fractions to the southern region, we conclude that simply from the comparison of the young stellar populations to the ionized gas there is no need to invoke other ionization mechanisms than Lyman-continuum leaking HII regions for the diffuse ionized gas in the Antennae.
Key words: galaxies: interactions / galaxies: individual: NGC 4038, NGC 4039 / galaxies: ISM / ISM: structure / HII regions
FITS images and Table of HII regions are available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (184.108.40.206) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/611/A95 and at http://muse-vlt.eu/science/antennae/
© ESO 2018
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