Molecular and atomic gas in dust lane early-type galaxies - I. Low star-formation efficiencies in minor merger remnants
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In this work we present IRAM-30m telescope observations of a sample of bulge-dominated galaxies with large dust lanes, which have had a recent minor merger. We find these galaxies are very gas rich, with H2 masses between 4x108 and 2x1010 Msun. We use these molecular gas masses, combined with atomic gas masses from an accompanying paper, to calculate gas-to-dust and gas-to-stellar mass ratios. The gas-to-dust ratios of our sample objects vary widely (between ≈50 and 750), suggesting many objects have low gas-phase metallicities, and thus that the gas has been accreted through a recent merger with a lower mass companion. We calculate the implied minor companion masses and gas fractions, finding a median predicted stellar mass ratio of ≈40:1. The minor companion likely had masses between ≈107 - 1010 Msun. The implied merger mass ratios are consistent with the expectation for low redshift gas-rich mergers from simulations. We then go on to present evidence that (no matter which star-formation rate indicator is used) our sample objects have very low star-formation efficiencies (star-formation rate per unit gas mass), lower even than the early-type galaxies from ATLAS3D which already show a suppression. This suggests that minor mergers can actually suppress star-formation activity. We discuss mechanisms that could cause such a suppression, include dynamical effects induced by the minor merger.
Davis , T A , Rowlands , K , Allison , J R , Shabala , S S , Ting , Y-S , Lagos , C D P , Kaviraj , S , Bourne , N , Dunne , L , Eales , S , Ivison , R J , Maddox , S , Smith , D J B , Smith , M W L & Temi , P 2015 , ' Molecular and atomic gas in dust lane early-type galaxies - I. Low star-formation efficiencies in minor merger remnants ' Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , vol 449 , no. 4 , pp. 3503-3516 . DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv597
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
© 2015 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at mnras.oxfordjournals.com / https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stv597
TAD acknowledges support from a Science and Technology Facilities Council Ernest Rutherford Fellowship, and thanks Maarten Baes, Gianfranco De Zotti, Iván Oteo Gómez, Michal Michalowski and Catherine Vlahakis for comments which improved the paper. KR acknowledges support from the European Research Council Starting Grant SEDmorph (PI: V. Wild). SSS thanks the Australian Research Council for an Early Career Fellowship (DE130101399). LD, RJI and SM acknowledge support from the European Research Council Advanced grant COSMICISM. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (/FP7/2007-2013/) under grant agreement No. 229517 and No. 283393 (RadioNet3). This paper is based on observations carried out with the IRAM 30-m telescope. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain).
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