Pre-starbursts in luminous IR galaxies?

Y. Gao, R. Gruendl, K. Y. Lo, C. Y. Hwang, S. Veilleux
1997 AIP Conference Proceedings  
We present first results of our on-going BIMA Key Project: imaging the CO(1-0) emission from a sample of 10 luminous IR galaxies (LIRGs) that are at various merging stages, with special emphasis on systems apparently in the early/intermediate stages of merging. We present here CO images with $\sim 5"$ resolution. An important result is the recognition of a plausible pre-starburst phase in some early LIRG mergers (e.g., Arp 302 and NGC 6670). Our initial analysis suggests that a merger-induced
more » ... a merger-induced starburst phase may not begin before the nuclear separation between the merging galaxies reaches roughly 10 kpc. The surface gas density seems to increase from a few times $10^2 \Msun pc^{-2} to >10^3 \Msun pc^{-2}$ while the prominent CO extent systematically decreases as merging progresses.
doi:10.1063/1.52748 fatcat:udgmdeqf3vhtvp2q46drj6jhxi