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Session 69 - Starburst Galaxies.
Display session, Wednesday, January 15
Metropolitan Ballroom,

[69.02] Pre-Starbursts in Luminous Infrared Galaxies

K. Y. Lo, Y. Gao, R. Gruendl (U. Illinois), C. Hwang (ASIAA, Taiwan), S. Veilleux (U. Maryland)

We present results of our on-going BIMA Key Project: CO imaging of luminous IR galaxies (LIRGs) in a merger sequence. We have mapped the CO(1-0) emission from a sample of 10 LIRGs that are at various merging stages, with special emphasis on systems which appear to be in the early/intermediate stages of merging. To date we have imaged these systems with \sim 5'' (typically \la 3 kpc) resolution. An important result in our first findings is that some LIRGs in the early merging stages (e.g., Arp 302 and NGC 6670) seem to be in a pre-starburst phase. The spatial CO extent drops from \sim 20 kpc for the widely separated early mergers to typically a few kpc for the intermediate and more advanced mergers. Our initial analysis of these results implies that the starburst phase does not begin before the separation between the merging galaxies reaches roughly 10 kpc characterizing those intermediate LIRG mergers.

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