Volume 623, March 2019
|Number of page(s)||31|
|Published online||06 March 2019|
Deciphering an evolutionary sequence of merger stages in infrared-luminous starburst galaxies at z ∼ 0.7
CEA, IRFU, DAp, AIM, Université Paris-Saclay, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CNRS, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
2 INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3 Instituto de Física, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Casilla 4059, Valparaíso, Chile
4 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia “G. Galilei”, Università di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 3, 35122, Italy
5 Departamento de Física y Astronomía, Universidad de La Serena, Av. Juan Cisternas 1200 Norte, La Serena, Chile
6 Instituto de Investigación Multidisciplinar en Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad de La Serena, Raúl Bitrán 1305, La Serena, Chile
7 Astronomy Program, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Seoul National University, 599 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, 151-742, Korea
8 Centro de Astronomía (CITEVA), Universidad de Antofagasta, Avenida Angamos 601, Antofagasta, Chile
9 Instituto de Física y Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Valparaíso, Gran Bretaña 1111, Playa Ancha, Valparaíso, Chile
10 Key Laboratory of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics in Ministry of Education, School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, PR China
11 National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
12 Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Konigstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
13 Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), 650 North A’ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
14 Department of Astronomical Science, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies), 650 North A’ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
15 Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN), Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen Ø; DTU-Space, Technical University of Denmark, Elektrovej 327, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
16 European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Straße 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
Accepted: 15 January 2019
Based on optical and near-IR Magellan FIRE spectra of 25 starburst galaxies at 0.5 < z < 0.9, a recent publication showed that their attenuation properties can be explained by a single-parameter sequence of total obscurations ranging from AV = 2 to AV = 30 toward the starburst core centers in a mixed stars and dust configuration. We investigate here the origin of this sequence for the same sample. We show that total attenuations anticorrelate with the starburst sizes in radio (3 GHz) with a significance larger than 5σ and a scatter of 0.26 dex. More obscured and compact starbursts also show enhanced N2 (=[NII]/Hα) ratios and larger line velocity widths that we attribute to an increasing shock contribution toward later merger phases, driven by deeper gravitational potential wells at the coalescence. Additionally, the attenuation is also linked to the equivalent width (EW) of hydrogen recombination lines, which is sensitive to the luminosity weighted age of the relatively unobscured stellar populations. Overall, the correlations among AV, tot, radio size, line width, N2 and EW of Balmer and Paschen lines converge toward suggesting an evolutionary sequence of merger stages: all of these quantities are likely to be good time-tracers of the merger phenomenon, and their large spanned range appears to be characteristic of the different merger phases. Half of our sample at higher obscurations have radio sizes approximately 3 times smaller than early type galaxies at the same redshift, suggesting that, in analogy with local ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs), these cores cannot be directly forming elliptical galaxies. Finally, we detect mid-IR AGN torus for half of our sample and additional X-ray emission for 6 starbursts; intriguingly, the latter have systematically more compact sizes, suggestive of emerging AGNs toward later merger stages, possibly precursors of a later QSO phase.
Key words: galaxies: evolution / galaxies: formation / galaxies: high-redshift / galaxies: interactions / galaxies: starburst / galaxies: star formation
© A. Calabrò et al. 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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