Cold Molecular Gas Along the Merger Sequence in Local Luminous Infrared Galaxies

August 2017 • 2017ApJ...844...96Y

Authors • Yamashita, Takuji • Komugi, Shinya • Matsuhara, Hideo • Armus, Lee • Inami, Hanae • Ueda, Junko • Iono, Daisuke • Kohno, Kotaro • Evans, Aaron S. • Arimatsu, Ko

Abstract • We present an initial result from the 12CO (J = 1-0) survey of 79 galaxies in 62 local luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxy (LIRG and ULIRG) systems obtained using the 45 m telescope at the Nobeyama Radio Observatory. This is a systematic 12CO (J = 1-0) survey of the Great Observatories All-sky LIRGs Survey (GOALS) sample. The molecular gas mass of the sample is in the range 2.2× {10}8{--}7.0× {10}9 {M} within the central several kiloparsecs subtended by the 15\prime\prime beam. A method to estimate the size of a CO gas distribution is introduced, which is combined with the total CO flux in the literature. This method is applied to part of our sample, and we find that the median CO radius is 1-4 kpc. From the early stage to the late stage of mergers, we find that the CO size decreases while the median value of the molecular gas mass in the central several-kiloparsec region is constant. Our results statistically support a scenario where molecular gas inflows toward the central region from the outer disk to replenish gas consumed by starburst, and that such a process is common in merging LIRGs.


IPAC Authors


Lee Armus

Senior Scientist