AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 8. Dwarf, Irregular and Starburst Galaxies
Display, Wednesday, January 12, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[8.12] Recent Star Formation in the Tidally Disturbed System HCG31

K.E. Johnson, P.S. Conti (University of Colorado)

High resolution (0''.7 to 0''.8) H\alpha images of the Hickson Compact Group 31 (HCG31) obtained with the WIYN telescope are used in conjunction with broadband optical images from the Hubble Space Telescope to examine the star formation properties and history of the component galaxies. The high spatial resolution of the WIYN telescope has allowed us to identify a large number of starburst regions from their H\alpha emission, which trace the recent star formation. The HST images of galaxies E and F reveal more detail within the starburst regions, and we have identified numerous super-star clusters (SSCs). Photometry of these starburst regions and SSCs in the H\alpha and optical images indicates that there has been a substantial amount of star formation in HCG31 over the past 10 Myr, supporting previous work found in the literature. The H\alpha equivalent widths suggest that there was a peak in the star formation throughout the group ~3 Myr ago. There is evidence that galaxy F, the youngest member of the group, is possibly undergoing its initial episode of star formation.

K.E.J. is grateful for support provided by NASA through a Graduate Student Researchers Program fellowship.

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