Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and cookies at 3:30 PM, Talk at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Sabrina Stierwalt, NRAO
Abstract: Massive galaxy mergers are an important mode of galaxy evolution and are observed to inspire intense starbursts, the growth of AGN,and significant rearranging of the galaxies' gas and dust. However, despite the fact that the majority of mergers at all epochs occur among low mass galaxies, whether these effects occur in the shallow gravitational potential wells of dwarf galaxies remains mostly uncharted territory. Mergers at low redshift in particular offer a high resolution look at a process that set the stage for galaxy assembly at earlier epochs when such low metallicity mergers were more frequent. I will present initial results and future plans for TiNy Titans, the first systematic study of a sample of interacting dwarf galaxies and the mechanisms governing their star formation and subsequent processing of the ISM. We find multi-wavelength evidence based on star formation rates, gas and dust content that mergers proceed substantially differently at low masses. Our survey further uncovers galaxy groups with only low-mass members, a discovery that appears to contradict predictions of structure formation from hydrodynamic cosmological simulations.