Volume 632, December 2019
|Number of page(s)||25|
|Published online||10 December 2019|
Merger induced clump formation in distant infrared luminous starburst galaxies
AIM, CEA, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
3 Univ. Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Univ. Lyon 1, CNRS, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, UMR5574, 69007 Lyon, France
4 Astronomy Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK
5 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
6 Universidad de La Laguna, Dpto. Astrofísica, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Accepted: 2 October 2019
While the formation of stellar clumps in distant galaxies is usually attributed to gravitational violent disk instabilities, we show here that major mergers also represent a competitive mechanism to form bright clumps. Using ∼0.1″ resolution ACS F814W images in the entire COSMOS field, we measured the fraction of clumpy emission in 109 main sequence (MS) and 79 Herschel-detected starbursts (off-MS) galaxies at 0.5 < z < 0.9, representative of normal versus merger induced star-forming activity, respectively. We additionally identify merger samples from visual inspection and from Gini-M20 morphological parameters. Regardless of the merger criteria adopted, the clumpiness distribution of merging systems is different from that of normal isolated disks at a > 99.5% confidence level. The former reaches higher clumpiness values up to 20% of the total galaxy emission. We confirm the merger induced clumpiness enhancement with novel hydrodynamical simulations of colliding galaxies with gas fractions typical of z ∼ 0.7. Multi-wavelength images of three starbursts in the CANDELS field support the young nature of clumps, which are likely merger products rather than older preexisting structures. Finally, for a subset of 19 starbursts with existing near-infrared rest frame spectroscopy, we find that the clumpiness is mildly anti-correlated with the merger phase, which decreases toward final coalescence. Our result can explain recent ALMA detections of clumps in hyperluminous high-z starbursts, while normal objects are smooth. This work raises a question as to the role of mergers on the origin of clumps in high redshift galaxies in general.
Key words: galaxies: evolution / galaxies: interactions / galaxies: high-redshift / galaxies: structure / galaxies: star formation / galaxies: starburst
© A. Calabrò et al. 2019
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