A Herschel*-ATLAS study of dusty spheroids: Probing the minor-merger process in the local Universe

S. Kaviraj, K. Rowlands, M. Alpaslan, L. Dunne, Y. S. Ting, M. Bureau, S. Shabala, C.J. Lintott, Daniel Smith, N. Agius, R. Auld, M. Baes, N. Bourne, A. Cava, D. L. Clements, A. Cooray, A. Dariush, G. de Zotti, S. P. Driver, S. EalesR. Hopwood, C. Hoyos, E. Ibar, S. Maddox, M. J. Michalowski, A. E. Sansom, M. Smith, E. Valiante

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We use multiwavelength (0.12-500 μm) photometry from Herschel-ATLAS, WISE, UKIDSS, SDSS and GALEX to study 23 nearby spheroidal galaxies with prominent dust lanes (DLSGs). DLSGs are considered to be remnants of recent minor mergers, making them ideal laboratories for studying both the interstellar medium (ISM) of spheroids and minor-merger-driven star formation in thenearby Universe. The DLSGs exhibit star formation rates (SFRs) between 0.01and 10M yr with a median of 0.26M yr (a factor of 3.5 greater thanthe average SG). The median dust mass, dust-to-stellar mass ratio and dust temperature in these galaxies are around 107.6M, ≈0.05 per cent and ≈19.5K, respectively. The dust masses are at least a factor of 50 greater than that expected from stellar mass loss and, like the SFRs, show no correlationwith galaxy luminosity, suggesting that both the ISM and the star formationhave external drivers. Adopting literature gas-to-dust ratios and star formation histories derived from fits to the panchromatic photometry, we estimate that the median current and initial gasto- stellar mass ratios in these systems are ≈4 and ≈7 per cent, respectively. If, as indicated by recent work, minor mergers that drive star formation in spheroids with (NUV - r) > 3.8 (the colour range of our DLSGs) have stellar mass ratios between 1:6 and 1:10, then the satellite gas fractions are likely =50 per cent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1463-1468
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


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