ACP Seminar (Astronomy - Cosmology - Particle Physics)

Speaker: Jillian Scudder (Univ. of Victoria)
Title: Tracing the effects of gas flows in interacting galaxy pairs
Date (JST): Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 12:00 - 13:00
Place: Seminar Room C
Abstract: Galaxy mergers and interactions are one of the most commonly invoked mechanisms to drive galaxy evolution. During an interaction, the gravitational disturbance of the nearby galaxy is thought to drive large scale flows of gas towards the centres of the perturbed galaxies. Both theoretical and observational results agree that gas motion from the outer regions of a galaxy towards the centre should lower the central metallicity, and this gas should fuel a central starburst, among numerous other induced changes. However, it is unclear over what range of separations these changes should be visible. In this talk, I will attempt to answer this uncertainty. I will present recent results investigating the star formation rates and gas-phase metallicities of a sample of galaxy pairs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7. We furthermore investigate whether the interaction-driven influx of gas towards the centre of a galaxy feeds the central supermassive black hole to ignite Active Galactic Nuclei. Finally, I will present a simple suite of simulations used to help interpret our results, and present a new way to interpret observational results of interacting galaxy pairs.