UV Morphology and Star Formation in the Tidal Tails of NGC 4038/9

J.E. Hibbard (NRAO), L. Bianchi (JHU), D. Thilker (JHU), R. M. Rich (UCLA), D. Schiminovich (Columbia, Caltech), C.K. Xu (Caltech), S. Neff (Goddard), M. Seibert (Caltech), S. Lauger (Marseille), D. Burgarella (Marseille), T.A. Barlow (Caltech), Y-I. Byun (Yonsei), J. Donas (Marseille), K. Forster (Caltech), P.G. Friedman (Caltech), T.M. Heckman (JHU), P.N. Jelinsky (Berkeley), Y-W. Lee (Yonsei), B.F. Madore (OCIW), R.F. Malina (Marseille), D.C. Martin (Caltech), B. Milliard (Marseille), P. Morrissey (Caltech), O.H.W. Siegmund (Berkeley), T. Small (Caltech), A.S. Szalay (JHU), B.Y. Welsh (Berkeley), and T.K. Wyder (Caltech)
The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 619, L87 (2005) (pdf 317 kB) (ADS) (astro-ph/0411352)

We present GALEX FUV (1530 A) and NUV (2310) observations of the archetypal merging system NGC 4038/39, ``The Antennae". Both tails are relatively bright in the UV, especially in the vicinity of the Tidal Dwarf Galaxy candidates at the end of the southern tail. The UV light generally falls within the optically delineated tails, although the UV light is considerably more structured, with a remarkably similar morphology to the tidal HI. The UV colors suggest that there has been continuing star formation within the tidal tails, even outside the previously studied Tidal Dwarf region. Within the inner disk regions, there are interesting UV features which appear to be related to the extended soft X-ray loops and halo recently discovered by Chandra.

Image to left: false color FUV (blue), FUV+NUV (green), NUV (red) GALEX image of NGC 4038/39. Go here for more figures on NGC 4038/9

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