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Astron. Astrophys. 325, L21-L24 (1997)

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1. Introduction

One of the major outcomes of the IRAS mission was the finding of a class of galaxies which emit the bulk of their energy in the far infrared (Soifer et al. 1987). On optical images most of the luminous ones show a peculiar morphology indicating interactions (e.g. Klaas and Elsässer 1993, and for a review Sanders and Mirabel 1996). Sanders et al. (1988) defined the class of ultra-luminous IR galaxies with [FORMULA] 10 [FORMULA] [FORMULA] and proposed that these objects represent the evolutionary link between starburst galaxies and quasars.

The evolution of the infrared luminous galaxies and the nature of their heating sources are one of the key issues of the coordinated Central Programme of the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO, Kessler et al. 1996; ISOPHOT, Lemke et al. 1996). In this letter we present detailed 3 to 200 µm photometry obtained with ISOPHOT for three classical interacting systems showing increasing interaction strength:

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: April 28, 1998