NGC 2770: High supernova rate due to interaction

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Michałowski, Michał J.
IAA authors: 
Thöne, Christina;de Ugarte Postigo, Antonio
Michałowski, Michał J.;Thöne, Christina;de Ugarte Postigo, Antonio;Hjorth, Jens;Leśniewska, Aleksandra;Gotkiewicz, Natalia;Dimitrov, Wojciech;Koprowski, Maciej P.;Kamphuis, Peter
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publication type: 
Context. Galaxies that hosted many core-collapse supernova (SN) explosions can be used to study the conditions necessary for the formation of massive stars. NGC 2770 was dubbed an SN factory because it hosted four core-collapse SNe in 20 years (three type Ib and one type IIn). Its star formation rate (SFR) was reported to not be enhanced and, therefore, not compatible with such a high SN rate. <BR /> Aims: We aim to explain the high SN rate of NGC 2770. <BR /> Methods: We used archival H I line data for NGC 2770 and reinterpreted the Hα and optical continuum data. <BR /> Results: Even though the continuum-based SFR indicators do not yield high values, the dust-corrected Hα luminosity implies a high SFR, consistent with the high SN rate. Such a disparity between the SFR estimators is an indication of recently enhanced star formation activity because the continuum indicators trace long timescales of the order of 100 Myr, unlike the line indicators, which trace timescales of the order of 10 Myr. Hence, the unique feature of NGC 2770 compared to other galaxies is the fact that it was observed very shortly after the enhancement of the SFR. It also has high dust extinction, E(B - V) above 1 mag. We provide support for the hypothesis that the increased SFR in NGC 2770 is due to the interaction with its companion galaxies. We report an H I bridge between NGC 2770 and its closest companion and the existence of a total of four companions within 100 kpc (one identified for the first time). There are no clear H I concentrations close to the positions of SNe in NGC 2770 such as those detected for hosts of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and broad-lined SNe type Ic (IcBL). This suggests that the progenitors of type Ib SNe are not born out of recently accreted atomic gas, as was suggested for GRB and IcBL SN progenitors.
ADS Bibcode: 
galaxies: evolution;galaxies: individual: NGC 2770;galaxies: ISM;galaxies: star formation;supernovae: general;radio lines: galaxies;Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies