We study how interactions between galaxies affect star formation within them by considering a sample of almost 1500 of the nearest galaxies, all within a distance of ∼45 Mpc. We use the far-IR emission to define the massive star formation rate (SFR), and then normalise the SFR by the stellar mass of the galaxy to obtain the specific star formation rate (SSFR). We explore the distribution of (S)SFR with morphological type and with stellar mass. We calculate the relative enhancement of SFR and SSFR for each galaxy by normalising them by the median SFR and SSFR values of individual control samples of similar non-interacting galaxies. We find that both the median SFR and SSFR are enhanced in interacting galaxies, and more so as the degree of interaction is higher. The increase is moderate, reaching a maximum of a factor of 1.9 for the highest degree of interaction (mergers). While the SFR and SSFR are enhanced statistically by interactions, in many individual interacting galaxies they are not enhanced at all. Our study is based on a representative sample of nearby galaxies and should be used to place constraints on studies based on samples of galaxies at larger distances.
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