Star formation and stellar populations in the Wolf-Rayet(?) luminous compact blue galaxy IRAS 08339+6517

A. R. López-Sánchez*, C. Esteban, J. García-Rojas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1017
Number of pages21
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: abundances
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Stars: Wolf-Rayet


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