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Title: A scaling relation between merger rate of galaxies and their close pair count

We study how to measure the galaxy merger rate from the observed close pair count. Using a high-resolution N-body/SPH cosmological simulation, we find an accurate scaling relation between galaxy pair counts and merger rates down to a stellar mass ratio of about 1:30. The relation explicitly accounts for the dependence on redshift (or time), on pair separation, and on mass of the two galaxies in a pair. With this relation, one can easily obtain the mean merger timescale for a close pair of galaxies. The use of virial masses, instead of the stellar mass, is motivated by the fact that the dynamical friction timescale is mainly determined by the dark matter surrounding central and satellite galaxies. This fact can also minimize the error induced by uncertainties in modeling star formation in the simulation. Since the virial mass can be determined from the well-established relation between the virial masses and the stellar masses in observations, our scaling relation can easily be applied to observations to obtain the merger rate and merger timescale. For major merger pairs (1:1-1:4) of galaxies above a stellar mass of 4 × 10{sup 10} h {sup –1} M{sub ☉} at z = 0.1, it takes about 0.31more » Gyr to merge for pairs within a projected distance of 20 h {sup –1} kpc with a stellar mass ratio of 1:1, while the time goes up to 1.6 Gyr for mergers with stellar mass ratio of 1:4. Our results indicate that a single timescale usually used in the literature is not accurate to describe mergers with a stellar mass ratio spanning even a narrow range from 1:1 to 1:4.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Key Laboratory for Research in Galaxies and Cosmology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Nandan Road 80, Shanghai 200030 (China)
  2. Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240 (China)
  3. Institute for Computational Cosmology, Department of Physics, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365636
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 790; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; GALAXIES; GALAXY CLUSTERS; MASS; NONLUMINOUS MATTER; RED SHIFT; RESOLUTION; SATELLITES; SCALING; SIMULATION; STARS