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Paper: Probing the Evolution of the Galaxy Interaction/Merger Rate Using Distant Collisional Ring Galaxies
Volume: 197, XVth IAP Meeting Dynamics of Galaxies: From the Early Universe to the Present
Page: 327
Authors: Lavery, Russell J.; Remijan, Anthony J.
Abstract: We present the initial results from our long-term program of identifying distant collisional ring galaxies (CRGS) in deep HST WFPC-2 images. The unique morphological characteristics of these galaxies make them easily identifiable out to a redshift of z = 1. To date, we have visually scanned 100 WFPC-2 fields and identified 14 excellent collisional ring galaxy (CRG) candidates. Based on estimated redshifts, these 14 galaxies are expected to lie in the redshift interval of 0.1 to 1. We have used this sample of CRGs to estimate the evolution of the galaxy interaction/merger rate with redshift. To account for the number of CRGs we have identified in these fields, the galaxy interaction/merger rate, parameterized as (1 + z)m, must increase steeply with redshift, with m = 5.7 +/- 1.5. We can rule out a non-evolving galaxy merger rate (m = 0) at greater than the 3σ level. We compare our results with other programs to determine the value of m using the evolution of galaxy pairs.
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