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  1. Abstract

    Post-starburst (PSB), or “E + A,” galaxies represent a rapid transitional phase between major, gas-rich mergers and gas-poor, quiescent, early-type galaxies. Surprisingly, many PSBs have been shown to host a significant interstellar medium (ISM), despite theoretical predictions that the majority of the star-forming gas should be expelled in active galactic nuclei– or starburst-driven outflows. To date, the resolved properties of this surviving ISM have remained unknown. We present high-resolution ALMA continuum and CO(2–1) observations in six gas- and dust-rich PSBs, revealing for the first time the spatial and kinematic structure of their ISM on sub-kpc scales. We find extremely compact molecular reservoirs, with dust and gas surface densities rivaling those found in (ultra)luminous infrared galaxies. We observe spatial and kinematic disturbances in all sources, with some also displaying disk-like kinematics. Estimates of the internal turbulent pressure in the gas exceed those of normal star-forming disks by at least 2 orders of magnitude, and rival the turbulent gas found in local interacting galaxies, such as the Antennae. Though the source of this high turbulent pressure remains uncertain, we suggest that the high incidence of tidal disruption events in PSBs could play a role. The star formation in these PSBs’ turbulentmore »central molecular reservoirs is suppressed, forming stars only 10% as efficiently as starburst galaxies with similar gas surface densities. “The fall” of star formation in these galaxies was not precipitated by complete gas expulsion or redistribution. Rather, this high-resolution view of PSBs’ ISM indicates that star formation in their remaining compact gas reservoirs is suppressed by significant turbulent heating.

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  2. Abstract

    We study the ionization and excitation structure of the interstellar medium in the late-stage gas-rich galaxy merger NGC 6240 using a suite of emission-line maps at ∼25 pc resolution from the Hubble Space Telescope, Keck/NIRC2 with Adaptive Optics, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). NGC 6240 hosts a superwind driven by intense star formation and/or one or both of two active nuclei; the outflows produce bubbles and filaments seen in shock tracers from warm molecular gas (H22.12μm) to optical ionized gas ([Oiii], [Nii], [Sii], and [Oi]) and hot plasma (FeXXV). In the most distinct bubble, we see a clear shock front traced by high [Oiii]/Hβand [Oiii]/[Oi]. Cool molecular gas (CO(2−1)) is only present near the base of the bubble, toward the nuclei launching the outflow. We interpret the lack of molecular gas outside the bubble to mean that the shock front is not responsible for dissociating molecular gas, and conclude that the molecular clouds are partly shielded and either entrained briefly in the outflow, or left undisturbed while the hot wind flows around them. Elsewhere in the galaxy, shock-excited H2extends at least ∼4 kpc from the nuclei, tracing molecular gas even warmer than that between the nuclei, wheremore »the two galaxies’ interstellar media are colliding. A ridgeline of high [Oiii]/Hβemission along the eastern arm aligns with the southern nucleus’ stellar disk minor axis; optical integral field spectroscopy from WiFeS suggests this highly ionized gas is centered at systemic velocity and likely photoionized by direct line of sight to the southern active galactic nucleus.

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    We investigate the mean locally measured velocity dispersions of ionized gas (σgas) and stars (σ*) for 1090 galaxies with stellar masses $\log \, (M_{\!\ast }/M_{\odot }) \ge 9.5$ from the SAMI Galaxy Survey. For star-forming galaxies, σ* tends to be larger than σgas, suggesting that stars are in general dynamically hotter than the ionized gas (asymmetric drift). The difference between σgas and σ* (Δσ) correlates with various galaxy properties. We establish that the strongest correlation of Δσ is with beam smearing, which inflates σgas more than σ*, introducing a dependence of Δσ on both the effective radius relative to the point spread function and velocity gradients. The second strongest correlation is with the contribution of active galactic nuclei (AGN) (or evolved stars) to the ionized gas emission, implying that the gas velocity dispersion is strongly affected by the power source. In contrast, using the velocity dispersion measured from integrated spectra (σap) results in less correlation between the aperture-based Δσ (Δσap) and the power source. This suggests that the AGN (or old stars) dynamically heat the gas without causing significant deviations from dynamical equilibrium. Although the variation of Δσap is much smaller than that of Δσ, a correlation between Δσapmore »and gas velocity gradient is still detected, implying that there is a small bias in dynamical masses derived from stellar and ionized gas velocity dispersions.

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  4. ABSTRACT The kinematic morphology–density relation of galaxies is normally attributed to a changing distribution of galaxy stellar masses with the local environment. However, earlier studies were largely focused on slow rotators; the dynamical properties of the overall population in relation to environment have received less attention. We use the SAMI Galaxy Survey to investigate the dynamical properties of ∼1800 early and late-type galaxies with log (M⋆/M⊙) > 9.5 as a function of mean environmental overdensity (Σ5) and their rank within a group or cluster. By classifying galaxies into fast and slow rotators, at fixed stellar mass above log (M⋆/M⊙) > 10.5, we detect a higher fraction (∼3.4σ) of slow rotators for group and cluster centrals and satellites as compared to isolated-central galaxies. We find similar results when using Σ5 as a tracer for environment. Focusing on the fast-rotator population, we also detect a significant correlation between galaxy kinematics and their stellar mass as well as the environment they are in. Specifically, by using inclination-corrected or intrinsic $\lambda _{R_{\rm {e}}}$ values, we find that, at fixed mass, satellite galaxies on average have the lowest $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$, isolated-central galaxies have the highest $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$, and group and clustermore »centrals lie in between. Similarly, galaxies in high-density environments have lower mean $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$ values as compared to galaxies at low environmental density. However, at fixed Σ5, the mean $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$ differences for low and high-mass galaxies are of similar magnitude as when varying Σ5 ($\Delta \lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}} \sim 0.05$, with σrandom = 0.025, and σsyst < 0.03). Our results demonstrate that after stellar mass, environment plays a significant role in the creation of slow rotators, while for fast rotators we also detect an independent, albeit smaller, impact of mass and environment on their kinematic properties.« less
  5. ABSTRACT The merger of two or more galaxies can enhance the inflow of material from galactic scales into the close environments of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), obscuring and feeding the supermassive black hole (SMBH). Both recent simulations and observations of AGN in mergers have confirmed that mergers are related to strong nuclear obscuration. However, it is still unclear how AGN obscuration evolves in the last phases of the merger process. We study a sample of 60 luminous and ultra-luminous IR galaxies (U/LIRGs) from the GOALS sample observed by NuSTAR. We find that the fraction of AGNs that are Compton thick (CT; $N_{\rm H}\ge 10^{24}\rm \, cm^{-2}$) peaks at $74_{-19}^{+14}{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at a late merger stage, prior to coalescence, when the nuclei have projected separations (dsep) of 0.4–6 kpc. A similar peak is also observed in the median NH [$(1.6\pm 0.5)\times 10^{24}\rm \, cm^{-2}$]. The vast majority ($85^{+7}_{-9}{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) of the AGNs in the final merger stages (dsep ≲ 10 kpc) are heavily obscured ($N_{\rm H}\ge 10^{23}\rm \, cm^{-2}$), and the median NH of the accreting SMBHs in our sample is systematically higher than that of local hard X-ray-selected AGN, regardless of the merger stage. This implies that thesemore »objects have very obscured nuclear environments, with the $N_{\rm H}\ge 10^{23}\rm \, cm^{-2}$ gas almost completely covering the AGN in late mergers. CT AGNs tend to have systematically higher absorption-corrected X-ray luminosities than less obscured sources. This could either be due to an evolutionary effect, with more obscured sources accreting more rapidly because they have more gas available in their surroundings, or to a selection bias. The latter scenario would imply that we are still missing a large fraction of heavily obscured, lower luminosity ($L_{2-10}\lesssim 10^{43}\rm \, erg\, s^{-1}$) AGNs in U/LIRGs.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We use comparisons between the Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral Field Spectrograph (SAMI) Galaxy Survey and equilibrium galaxy models to infer the importance of disc fading in the transition of spirals into lenticular (S0) galaxies. The local S0 population has both higher photometric concentration and lower stellar spin than spiral galaxies of comparable mass and we test whether this separation can be accounted for by passive aging alone. We construct a suite of dynamically self-consistent galaxy models, with a bulge, disc, and halo using the galactics code. The dispersion-dominated bulge is given a uniformly old stellar population, while the disc is given a current star formation rate putting it on the main sequence, followed by sudden instantaneous quenching. We then generate mock observables (r-band images, stellar velocity, and dispersion maps) as a function of time since quenching for a range of bulge/total (B/T) mass ratios. The disc fading leads to a decline in measured spin as the bulge contribution becomes more dominant, and also leads to increased concentration. However, the quantitative changes observed after 5 Gyr of disc fading cannot account for all of the observed difference. We see similar results if we instead subdivide our SAMI Galaxy Survey sample by starmore »formation (relative to the main sequence). We use EAGLE simulations to also take into account progenitor bias, using size evolution to infer quenching time. The EAGLE simulations suggest that the progenitors of current passive galaxies typically have slightly higher spin than present day star-forming disc galaxies of the same mass. As a result, progenitor bias moves the data further from the disc fading model scenario, implying that intrinsic dynamical evolution must be important in the transition from star-forming discs to passive discs.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We have entered a new era where integral-field spectroscopic surveys of galaxies are sufficiently large to adequately sample large-scale structure over a cosmologically significant volume. This was the primary design goal of the SAMI Galaxy Survey. Here, in Data Release 3, we release data for the full sample of 3068 unique galaxies observed. This includes the SAMI cluster sample of 888 unique galaxies for the first time. For each galaxy, there are two primary spectral cubes covering the blue (370–570 nm) and red (630–740 nm) optical wavelength ranges at spectral resolving power of R = 1808 and 4304, respectively. For each primary cube, we also provide three spatially binned spectral cubes and a set of standardized aperture spectra. For each galaxy, we include complete 2D maps from parametrized fitting to the emission-line and absorption-line spectral data. These maps provide information on the gas ionization and kinematics, stellar kinematics and populations, and more. All data are available online through Australian Astronomical Optics Data Central.
  8. ABSTRACT Galaxy internal structure growth has long been accused of inhibiting star formation in disc galaxies. We investigate the potential physical connection between the growth of dispersion-supported stellar structures (e.g. classical bulges) and the position of galaxies on the star-forming main sequence at z ∼ 0. Combining the might of the SAMI and MaNGA galaxy surveys, we measure the λRe spin parameter for 3289 galaxies over $9.5 \lt \log M_{\star } [\rm {M}_{\odot }] \lt 12$. At all stellar masses, galaxies at the locus of the main sequence possess λRe values indicative of intrinsically flattened discs. However, above $\log M_{\star }[\rm {M}_{\odot }]\sim 10.5$ where the main sequence starts bending, we find tantalizing evidence for an increase in the number of galaxies with dispersion-supported structures, perhaps suggesting a connection between bulges and the bending of the main sequence. Moving above the main sequence, we see no evidence of any change in the typical spin parameter in galaxies once gravitationally interacting systems are excluded from the sample. Similarly, up to 1 dex below the main sequence, λRe remains roughly constant and only at very high stellar masses ($\log M_{\star }[\rm {M}_{\odot }]\gt 11$), do we see a rapid decrease in λRemore »once galaxies decline in star formation activity. If this trend is confirmed, it would be indicative of different quenching mechanisms acting on high- and low-mass galaxies. The results suggest that whilst a population of galaxies possessing some dispersion-supported structure is already present on the star-forming main sequence, further growth would be required after the galaxy has quenched to match the kinematic properties observed in passive galaxies at z ∼ 0.« less
  9. ABSTRACT We measure the gas-phase metallicity gradients of 248 galaxies selected from Data Release 2 of the SAMI Galaxy Survey. We demonstrate that there are large systematic discrepancies between the metallicity gradients derived using common strong emission line metallicity diagnostics. We determine which pairs of diagnostics have Spearman’s rank coefficients greater than 0.6 and provide linear conversions to allow the accurate comparison of metallicity gradients derived using different strong emission line diagnostics. For galaxies within the mass range 8.5 < log (M/M⊙) < 11.0, we find discrepancies of up to 0.11 dex/Re between seven popular diagnostics in the metallicity gradient–mass relation. We find a suggestion of a break in the metallicity gradient–mass relation, where the slope shifts from negative to positive, occurs between 9.5 < log (M/M⊙) < 10.5 for the seven chosen diagnostics. Applying our conversions to the metallicity gradient–mass relation, we reduce the maximum dispersion from 0.11 dex/Re to 0.02 dex/Re. These conversions provide the most accurate method of converting metallicity gradients when key emission lines are unavailable. We find that diagnostics that share common sets of emission line ratios agree best, and that diagnostics calibrated through the electron temperature provide more consistent results compared to those calibrated through photoionization models.