Multiwavelength Observations of Dwarf-Dwarf Mergers: Fueling Hierarchical Assembly
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Sabrina Stierwalt
Occidental College
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Both cosmological simulations and observations of the ultraviolet luminosity function suggest dwarf galaxies are the dominant population at high redshifts and that the galaxy merger rate per unit volume is dominated by low mass galaxies. However, dwarf-dwarf interactions have not yet been subject to systematic study, even in the nearby universe. I will report on our efforts to do just that: TiNy Titans is the first systematic study of a sample of isolated interacting dwarf galaxies and the mechanisms governing their star formation. How much of what we know about massive galaxy mergers - triggering of starbursts, significant rearranging of gas & dust, AGN growth - occur in the shallower gravitational potential wells of dwarf galaxies? Do we observe these low mass mergers at the rate predicted by cosmological simulations? Do groups of only dwarf galaxies exist? In particular, I will highlight the potential for mid- and far-infrared observations to aid in our search for intermediate mass AGN and in our understanding of the interstellar medium in these systems.

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