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|The Centers of Early- to Intermediate-Type Spiral Galaxies: A Structural Analysis|
A recent Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/WFPC2 visual survey of early- andintermediate-type spiral galaxies has unveiled a great complexity in theinner regions of these systems, which include a high fraction ofphotometrically distinct compact sources sitting at the galactic centers(``nuclei''). The faint nuclei (M_V>~-12) are typically hosted byrather amorphous, quiescent, bulgelike structures with an exponential(rather than the classical R^1/4) light profile. These ``exponentialbulges'' are commonly found inside the intermediate-type disks,consistent with previous studies. Brighter nuclei (M_V<~-12) aretypically found instead in the centers of galaxies with circumnuclearrings/arms of star formation or dust and an active, i.e., H II- orAGN-type, central spectrum at ground-based resolution. On the structuralplane of half-light radius (R_e) versus mean surface brightness withinthe half-light radius (mu_e), faint and bright nuclei overlap with, andfill the region of parameter space between, the old Milky Way globularclusters and the young star clusters, respectively, with typical R_e ofabout a few up to ~20 pc. On the same plane, the exponential bulges havesignificantly fainter mu_e than R^1/4 bulges for any given radius andfollow a mu_e-R_e relation typical of disks, which strengthens thesuggestion that the exponential bulges grow inside the disks as a resultof the secular evolution of the latter. Under the likely assumption thatthe visual light from the faint nuclei embedded in the quiescentexponential bulges is of stellar origin and of a similar (>~1 Gyr)age for the central star clusters and their host bulges, the massesinferred for the former agree with those required to disrupt barscomparable in size to the latter. This offers support to scenarios inwhich the exponential bulges grow inside the disks owing to the orbitaldisruption of progenitor bars caused by the growth of a centralconcentration of mass and suggests that this specific mode of bulgeformation is (still) active in the present-day universe. On the otherhand, the presence of the massive clusters at the very center of thelow-density exponential bulges should prevent any other ``nuclear'' barfrom forming, thereby preventing further infall of dissipative fuel tothe nuclear regions. This may argue against the possibility of evolvingthe exponential bulges into denser, R^1/4 bulges by a simple looping forseveral cycles of the bar formation/disruption mechanism.
|Spiral Galaxies with WFPC2. II. The Nuclear Properties of 40 Objects|
We report the analysis of Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field PlanetaryCamera 2 F606W images of 40 spiral galaxies belonging to the sampleintroduced in Paper I, where 35 other targets were discussed. Wedescribe the optical morphological properties of the new 40 galaxies,derive the surface brightness profiles for 25 of them, and present theresults of photometric decompositions of these profiles into a ``bulge''(R^1/4 or exponential) and a disk component. The analysis of theenlarged sample of 75 galaxies puts on a statistically more solid groundthe main results presented in Paper I: (1) In ~30% of the galaxies, theinner, morphologically distinct structures have an irregular appearance.Some of these ``irregular bulges'' are likely to be currently formingstars. (2) Resolved, central compact sources are detected in about 50%of the galaxies. (3) The central compact sources in galaxies withnuclear star formation are brighter, for similar sizes, than those innon-star-forming galaxies. (4) The luminosity of the compact sourcescorrelates with the total galactic luminosity. Furthermore, the analysisof the enlarged sample of 75 objects shows the following: (a) Several ofthe nonclassical inner structures are well fitted by an exponentialprofile. These ``exponential bulges'' are typically fainter than R^1/4bulges, for a given total galaxy luminosity and (catalog) Hubble typelater than Sab. (b) Irregular/exponential bulges typically host centralcompact sources. (c) The central sources are present in all types ofdisk galaxies, starting with systems as early as S0a. About 60% of Sb toSc galaxies host a central compact source. Many of the galaxies thathost compact sources contain a barred structure. (d) Galaxies withapparent nuclear star formation, which also host the brightest compactsources, are preferentially the early- and intermediate-type (S0a-Sb)systems. (e) None of the features depend on environment: isolated andnonisolated galaxies show indistinguishable properties. Independent ofthe physical nature of the nonclassical inner structures, our mainconclusion is that a significant fraction of galaxies classified fromthe ground as relatively early-type spirals show a rich variety ofcentral properties and little or no morphological/photometric evidencefor a smooth, R^1/4 law bulge. Based on observations with the NASA/ESAHubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope ScienceInstitute, which is operated by the Association of Universities forResearch in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.
|Southern Galaxy Catalogue.|
|Spectroscopic survey of southern compact and bright-nucleus galaxies. V|
Redshifts are given for 265 galaxies. The majority show absorptionspectra (the present list being complementary to Paper IV) but a fewemission line galaxies, including three Seyfert 2 galaxies, are present.General characteristics and spatial distribution are discussed briefly.
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