Aims: IRAS 08339+6517 is a luminous infrared and Lyα-emitting starburst galaxy that possesses a dwarf companion object at a projected distance of 56 kpc. An H I tidal tail has recently been detected between both galaxies, suggesting that about 70% of the neutral gas has been ejected from them. Methods: We present deep broad-band optical images, together with narrow band Hα CCD images, and optical intermediate-resolution spectroscopy of both galaxies. Results: The images reveal interaction features between both systems and strong Hα emission in the inner part of IRAS 08339+6517. The chemical composition of the ionized gas of the galaxies is rather similar. The analysis of their kinematics also indicates interaction features and reveals an object that could be a candidate tidal dwarf galaxy or a remnant of an earlier merger. Our data suggest that the H I tail has been mainly formed from material stripped from the main galaxy. We find weak spectral features that could be attributed to the presence of Wolf-Rayet stars in this starburst galaxy and estimate an age of the most recent burst of around 4-6 Myr. A more evolved underlying stellar population, with a minimal age between 100-200 Myr, is also detected and fits an exponential intensity profile. A model which combines 85% young and 15% old populations can explain both the spectral energy distribution and the H I Balmer and He I absorption lines presented in our spectrum. The star formation rate of the galaxy is consistently derived using several calibrations, giving a value of ∼9.5 M⊙ yr-1. Conclusions: IRAS 08339+6517 does satisfy the criteria of a luminous compact blue galaxy, rare objects in the local universe but common at high redshifts, being a very interesting target for detailed studies of galaxy evolution and formation.
- Galaxies: abundances
- Galaxies: interactions
- Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
- Galaxies: starburst
- Stars: Wolf-Rayet