Galaxy mergers are known to trigger dramatic changes in galactic morphology, metallicity, star formation and black hole accretion rates. However, the extent to which these properties respond to the interaction can vary greatly both between different mergers, and at different times during a given interaction. In order to piece together a complete view of the changes that galaxies undergo during the interaction processes, we have been undertaking a large, multi-faceted investigation of galaxy mergers in the nearby universe. We have combined a large sample of galaxy pairs that span projected separations from a few kpc out to a Mpc, with a sample of post-mergers, all selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Over such a separation range, this sample can be used to trace the galaxy merger population throughout their encounter in a homogeneous and statistically meaningful way. I will present the results from a series of papers on these merger results, which investigate many facets of the merger, including triggered star formation, accretion onto the central supermassive black hole and changes in galactic chemistry.
Sara Ellison (University of Victoria)
October 21, 2013
14:00 - 15:00