We propose to extend the area of existing Spitzer M81 observations to include the coordinates of these recently discovered tidal dwarf galaxies (TDGs). This will allow us to compare stellar formation in young TDGs with the disc of M81 to determine if the process of star formation differs in debris tails.
The close proximity of M81 (3.6 Mpc: Freedman et al, 2001) makes these particular TDGs an ideal target for the study of the formation of stars due to galactic interaction. If metallicity in this area is low it could be analogous to stellar formation in the early universe. This would then be a unique opportunity to study early universe stellar conditions in a region of low redshift. This proposal will compare stellar formation conditions in TDGs and galactic discs.
We propose to use IRAC's capabilities to look for PAH emission, indicating the presence of dust in the debris tails. The mid-IR capabilities of MIPS will provide the thermal properties of this dust.
Oil City High School, Oil City, Pennsylvania
Allentown High School, Allentown, New Jersey