Star-formation histories of local luminous infrared galaxies

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We present analysis of the integrated spectral energy distribution (SED) from the ultraviolet (UV) to the far-infrared and H alpha of a sample of 29 local systems and individual galaxies with infrared (IR) luminosities between 10^11 L_⨀and 10^11.8 L_⨀. We combined new narrow-band Hα + [NII] and broad-band g, r optical imaging taken with the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT), with archival GALEX, 2MASS, Spitzer, and Herschel data. Their SEDs (photometry and integrated Hα flux) were fitted simultaneously with a modified version of the MAGPHYS code using stellar population synthesis models for the UV-near-IR range and thermal emission models for the IR emission taking the energy balance between the absorbed and re-emitted radiation into account. From the SED fits, we derive the star-formation histories (SFH) of these galaxies. For nearly half of them, the star-formation rate appears to be approximately constant during the last few Gyr. In the other half, the current star-formation rate seems to be enhanced by a factor of 3-20 with respect to what occurred ∼1 Gyr ago. Objects with constant SFH tend to be more massive than starbursts, and they are compatible with the expected properties of a main-sequence (M-S) galaxy. Likewise, the derived SFHs show that all our objects were M-S galaxies ∼1 Gyr ago with stellar masses between 10^10.1 and 10^11.5 M_⨀. We also derived the average extinction (A_v = 0.6-3 mag) and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon luminosity to L_IR ratio (0.03-0.16) from our fits. We combined the A_v with the total IR and Hα luminosities into a diagram that can be used to identify objects with rapidly changing (increasing or decreasing) SFR during the past 100 Myr.
© ESO 2015. We thank the anonymous referee for comments and suggestions. We also thank the Nordic Optical Telescope and Isaac Newton Group staff for their support during the observations. We acknowledge support from the Spanish Plan Nacional de Astronomía y Astrofísica through grants AYA2010-21161-C02-1, AYA2010-21887-C04-03, AYA2012-32295, AYA2012-31447, AYA2012-31277, and AYA2012-39408-C02-01. Based on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope, operated by the Nordic Optical Telescope Scientific Association at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, Spain, of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. The data presented here were obtained in part with ALFOSC, which is provided by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA) under a joint agreement with the University of Copenhagen and NOTSA. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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