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Title: MID-INFRARED ATOMIC FINE-STRUCTURE EMISSION-LINE SPECTRA OF LUMINOUS INFRARED GALAXIES: SPITZER/IRS SPECTRA OF THE GOALS SAMPLE

We present the data and our analysis of mid-infrared atomic fine-structure emission lines detected in Spitzer/Infrared Spectrograph high-resolution spectra of 202 local Luminous Infrared Galaxies (LIRGs) observed as part of the Great Observatories All-sky LIRG Survey (GOALS). We readily detect emission lines of [S IV], [Ne II], [Ne V], [Ne III], [S III]{sub 18.7{sub μm}}, [O IV], [Fe II], [S III]{sub 33.5{sub μm}}, and [Si II]. More than 75% of these galaxies are classified as starburst-dominated sources in the mid-infrared, based on the [Ne V]/[Ne II] line flux ratios and equivalent width of the 6.2 μm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon feature. We compare ratios of the emission-line fluxes to those predicted from stellar photo-ionization and shock-ionization models to constrain the physical and chemical properties of the gas in the starburst LIRG nuclei. Comparing the [S IV]/[Ne II] and [Ne III]/[Ne II] line ratios to the Starburst99-Mappings III models with an instantaneous burst history, the emission-line ratios suggest that the nuclear starbursts in our LIRGs have ages of 1-4.5 Myr, metallicities of 1-2 Z{sub ☉}, and ionization parameters of 2-8 × 10{sup 7} cm s{sup –1}. Based on the [S III]{sub 33.5{sub μm}}/[S III]{sub 18.7{sub μm}} ratios, the electron density in LIRGmore » nuclei is typically one to a few hundred cm{sup –3}, with a median electron density of ∼300 cm{sup –3}, for those sources above the low density limit for these lines. We also find that strong shocks are likely present in 10 starburst-dominated sources of our sample. A significant fraction of the GOALS sources (80) have resolved neon emission-line profiles (FWHM ≥600 km s{sup –1}) and five show clear differences in the velocities of the [Ne III] or [Ne V] emission lines, relative to [Ne II], of more than 200 km s{sup –1}. Furthermore, six starburst and five active galactic nucleus dominated LIRGs show a clear trend of increasing line width with ionization potential, suggesting the possibility of a compact energy source and stratified interstellar medium in their nuclei. We confirm a strong correlation between the sum of the [Ne II]{sub 12.8{sub μm}} and [Ne III]{sub 15.5{sub μm}} emission, as well as [S III]{sub 33.5{sub μm}}, with both the infrared luminosity and the 24 μm warm dust emission measured from the spectra, consistent with all three lines tracing ongoing star formation. Finally, we find no correlation between the hardness of the radiation field or the emission-line width and the ratio of the total infrared to 8 μm emission (IR8), a measure of the strength of the starburst and the distance of the LIRGs from the star-forming main sequence. This may be a function of the fact that the infrared luminosity and the mid-infrared fine-structure lines are sensitive to different timescales over the starburst, or that IR8 is more sensitive to the geometry of the region emitting the warm dust than the radiation field producing the H II region emission.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ; ; ; ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ; ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [12] ;  [13] ;  [14] more »; « less
  1. National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ 85719 (United States)
  2. Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology, CA 91125 (United States)
  3. Department of Physics and Institute of Theoretical and Computational Physics, University of Crete, GR-71003 Heraklion (Greece)
  4. Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany)
  5. Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Australian National University, Cotter Road, Weston Creek, ACT 2611 (Australia)
  6. Department of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, MS 320-47, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  7. The Observatories, Carnegie Institute of Washington, 813 Santa Barbara Street, Pasadena, CA 91101 (United States)
  8. CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, Marsfield, NSW 2122 (Australia)
  9. Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400325, Charlottesville, VA 22904 (United States)
  10. Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, MS 100-22, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  11. NASA Herschel Science Center, 770 South Wilson Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  12. Astronomy Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 (United States)
  13. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box 2, Green Bank, WV 24944 (United States)
  14. Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22270542
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 777; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; CORRELATIONS; ELECTRON DENSITY; EMISSION SPECTRA; FINE STRUCTURE; GALAXIES; GALAXY NUCLEI; IRON IONS; LINE WIDTHS; NEON IONS; OXYGEN IONS; POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS; RESOLUTION; STARS; SULFUR IONS