A Hubble Space Telescope study of SCUBA submillimetre galaxies

  • Almaini O
  • Dunlop J
  • Conselice C
 et al. 
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We present high-resolution imaging of a sample of 10 SCUBA submillimetre galaxies, obtained using the ACS camera on the Hubble Space Telescope. We find that the majority show compact, disturbed morphologies. Using quantitative morphological classification, we find that at least 6 are classified as major mergers. Simulations suggest that the morphological parameters are unlike local spirals and ellipticals, but similar to those of local ULIRGs. Compared to Lyman-break galaxies, the submillimetre-selected galaxies are on average more asymmetric, but also significantly more concentrated in their light distributions. This is consistent with a higher fraction of the stellar mass being contained within a central spheroid component. Despite their different morphologies, we find that submm galaxies are similar in size to luminous (>~L*) Lyman-break galaxies, with half-light radii in the range 2.8 - 4.6kpc.

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  • Astrophysics

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  • O. Almaini

  • J. S. Dunlop

  • C. J. Conselice

  • T. a. Targett

  • R. J. Mclure

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