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IC 2442



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Tidally Triggered Star Formation in Close Pairs of Galaxies. II. Constraints on Burst Strengths and Ages
Galaxy-galaxy interactions rearrange the baryons in galaxies and triggersubstantial star formation; the aggregate effects of these interactionson the evolutionary histories of galaxies in the universe are poorlyunderstood. We combine B- and R-band photometry and optical spectroscopyto estimate the strengths and timescales of bursts of triggered starformation in the centers of 190 galaxies in pairs and compact groups.Based on an analysis of the measured colors and EW(Hα), wecharacterize the preexisting and triggered populations separately. Thebest-fitting burst scenarios assume stronger reddening corrections forline emission than for the continuum and continuous star formationlasting for >~100 Myr. The most realistic scenarios require aninitial mass function that is deficient in the highest mass stars. Thecolor of the preexisting stellar population is the most significantsource of uncertainty. Triggered star formation contributessubstantially (probably >~50%) to the R-band flux in the centralregions of several galaxies; tidal tails do not necessarily accompanythis star formation. Many of the galaxies in our sample have bluercenters than outskirts, suggesting that pre- or nonmerger interactionsmay lead to evolution along the Hubble sequence. These objects wouldappear blue and compact at higher redshifts; the older, redder outskirtsof the disks would be difficult to detect. Our data indicate thatgalaxies with larger separations on the sky contain weaker, and probablyolder, bursts of star formation on average. However, confirmation ofthese trends requires further constraints on the colors of the olderstellar populations and on the reddening for individual galaxies.

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:09h10m05.20s
Aparent dimensions:0.871′ × 0.813′

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ICIC 2442

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