The determination of the star formation history of galaxies and the origin of the ISM fuel is one of the main unsolved issues in the study of the formation and evolution of galaxies. By now it appears that supermassive black holes play a major role in regulating the amount of gas, and thus the star formation in their host system. To understand these processes, it is important to simultaneously trace the i) properties of the interstellar medium, ii) the star formation rate, and iii) the nuclear activity. Our representative set of nearby elliptical, lenticular and early-type spiral galaxies, the SAURON sample, is ideal for such a study. For all 72 galaxies in this sample, we have measured the kinematics of the stars and ionized gas, as well as the stellar populations, via integral field spectroscopy. These data are crucial for understanding the mass distribution within a system, as well as kinematic substructures such as disks and decoupled cores, which likely play a significant role in driving star formation. We therefore propose to complement this sample with Spitzer IRAC and MIPS images, in order to quantitatively study the amount of star formation and dust in these systems. With the combination of Spitzer imaging and SAURON integral field data, we will be able to study the origin of the ISM in these early-type systems, and the affect of stellar and gas kinematics on star formation. Furthermore, using the multi-wavelength dataset (GALEX, CO, HI) we have accumulated for this sample, we will be able to isolate the contribution from the AGN and connect activity to other processes within the system in order to study the fueling of AGN. The data proposed here will therefore create a unique set of data that will provide much insight into the forces that drive galaxy evolution.
|Publication status||Published - 2008|