Morphologically identified merging galaxies in the SWIRE fields

Mei Ling Huang, Chorng Yuan Hwang

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2 Scopus citations


We investigate the evolutionary and environmental effects on star formation efficiency for more than ∼400 merging galaxies. The 400 merging systems, with photometric redshifts smaller than 0.7, are obtained from a catalog of ∼15,000 morphologically identified merging galaxies derived from observations of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. We also obtained the IR data of the merging galaxies from the Spitzer Wide-area InfraRed Extragalactic Survey (SWIRE). The redshift differences Δz between the member galaxies of these merging pairs show a large distribution with 0 < Δz < 0.4. We divide our merging pairs into two sub-samples with Δz < 0.05 and >0.05 for further analyses. We find a statistically significant anti-correlation between the specific star formation rate (SSFR) and the separation of the merging galaxies for both subsamples. Our analyses also show that although most of the merging systems do have enhanced star formation activity, only very rare ones display extremely high SFRs. Additionally, the SSFR of the merging galaxies also decreases when the magnitude difference between two member galaxies becomes large. However, we find that for the merging pairs with large luminosity contrast, the fainter components show higher SSFR than the brighter ones. Finally, there is a higher fraction of gas-poor mergers in galaxy clusters, and the SSFR of gas-rich mergers is reduced in cluster environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2011


  • galaxies: general
  • galaxies: interactions
  • infrared: galaxies


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