Journal Article

The environments of local luminous infrared galaxies: star formation rates increase with density

Abiy G. Tekola, Petri Väisänen and Andreas Berlind

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 419, issue 2, pages 1176-1186
Published in print January 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19773.x
The environments of local luminous infrared galaxies: star formation rates increase with density

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This work studies the environments and star formation (SF) relationships of local luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs) in comparison to other types of local and distant (z∼ 1) galaxies. The infrared (IR) galaxies are drawn from the IRAS sample. The density of the environment is quantified using Six degree Field (6dF) and Point Source Catalogue redshift survey (PSCz) galaxies in a cylinder of 2 h−1 Mpc radius and 10 h−1 Mpc length. Our most important result shows the existence of a dramatic density difference between local LIRGs and local non-LIRG IR galaxies. LIRGs live in denser environments than non-LIRG IR galaxies do, implying that LIR= 1011h−2 L marks an important transition point among IR-selected local galaxies. We also find that there is a strong correlation between the densities around LIRGs and their LIR luminosity, while the IR activity of non-LIRG IR galaxies does not show any dependence on environment. This trend is independent of mass-bin selection. The SF–density trend in local LIRGs is similar to that found in some studies of blue cloud galaxies at z∼ 1, which show a correlation between SF and local density (the reversal of the relation seen for local galaxies). This, together with the rapid decline of the number count of LIRGs since z∼ 1, could mean that either local LIRGs are survivors of whatever process transformed blue cloud galaxies at z∼ 1 to the present day or local LIRGs came into existence by similar process to high-redshift LIRGs but at later stage.

Keywords: galaxies: evolution; galaxies: star formation; infrared: galaxies

Journal Article.  9555 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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