AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 116 Elliptical and Spiral Galaxies
Poster, Thursday, January 8, 2004, 9:20am-4:00pm, Grand Hall

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[116.06] Do Spiral-Spiral Mergers Make Real Elliptical Galaxies?

B. Rothberg, R. Joseph (Univ. of Hawaii)

Mergers appear to play a fundamental role in galaxy evolution at all redshifts. Unfortunately, our knowledge of galaxy mergers is still limited and based on studies of only a handful of objects. To address this deficiency, we have conducted a large scale, in-depth survey of 52 optically selected merging systems in the local universe to study whether they make viable elliptical galaxies. Using deep infrared photometry (\muK ~21) obtained with QUIRC on the University of Hawaii 2.2 meter telescope and high resolution (R ~8800) spectra obtained with ESI on Keck-2, we have measured surface brightness profiles and velocity dispersions. The goal is to test if these mergers have elliptical-like profiles and whether they lie on the Fundamental Plane. These are two key diagnostics of the mergers-make-ellipticals hypothesis. We present here the initial results of our survey.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.