Institution(s): 1. University of Hawaii
Using deep Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5 μm observations of the local luminous infrared galaxies from the Great Observatory All-Sky LIRG Survey (GOALS) we find stellar halos that extend out to 100 kpc from the galaxies’ nuclei. These extended debris fields contain 7 - 20% of the total mass of the galaxy system in mid to late stage mergers and only 2 - 4% of the total mass in non-interacting galaxies and early stage mergers. The relatively high levels of structure and sharp outer edges of the halos suggest that the debris in the GOALS interacting galaxies are dynamically young, comprised of material which has not had time to phase-mix in the stationary potential of a fully merged system.