HST Observing Program Description:
The HST component of GOALS involves a Cycle 14 program (Evans et al., Program #10592) consisting of ACS/WFC imaging of the complete set of 88 LIRGs and ULIRGs with LIR > 1011.4 L☉ in the IRAS Revised Bright Galaxy Sample (RBGS: i.e., 60 μm flux density > 5.24 Jy). This sample is ideal not only in its completeness and sample size, but also in the proximity and brightness of the galaxies. The superb sensitivity, resolution, and field of view of ACS/WFC on HST enables a unique opportunity to study the detailed structure of galaxies that sample all stages of the merger process. Images obtained in the F439W and F814W filters (B and I-band) are being analyzed. This HST survey bridges the wavelength gap between our Spitzer imaging survey (covering seven bands in the 3.6 – 160 μm range) and IRS spectroscopy, and GALEX UV imaging of these galaxies, but resolves complexes of star clusters and multiple nuclei at a resolution well beyond the capabilities of Spitzer and GALEX.
Our primary goals are to examine, as a function of both luminosity and merger state: