Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 517, A75-75 (2010/7-1)
A mid-IR study of Hickson compact groups. I. Probing the effects of environment in galaxy interactions.
BITSAKIS T., CHARMANDARIS V., LE FLOC'H E., DIAZ-SANTOS T., SLATER S.K., XILOURIS E. and HAYNES M.P.
Abstract (from CDS):
Hickson compact groups (HCGs) are among the densest galaxy environments of the local universe. To examine the effects of the environment on the infrared properties of these systems, we present an analysis of Spitzer and ISO mid-infrared imaging, as well as of deep ground-based near-infrared imaging of 14 HCGs containing a total of 69 galaxies. Based on mid-infrared color diagnostics we identify the galaxies that appear to host an active nucleus, while using a suite of templates, and fit the complete infrared spectral energy distribution for each group member. We compare our estimates of galaxy mass, star formation rate, total infrared luminosities, and specific star formation rates (sSFR) for our HCG sample to samples of isolated galaxies and interacting pairs and find that overall there is no discernible difference among them. However, HCGs that can be considered as dynamically ``old'' host late-type galaxies with a slightly lower sSFR than the one found in dynamically ``young'' groups. This could be attributed to multiple past interactions among the galaxies in old groups, that have led to the build up of their stellar mass. It is also consistent with our prediction of the presence of diffuse cold dust in the intergalactic medium of 9 of the dynamically ``old'' groups.