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 The multi-phase gaseous halos of star forming late-type galaxies. I. XMM-Newton observations of the hot ionized mediumThis study presents first results from an X-ray mini-survey carried outwith XMM-Newton to investigate the diffuse Hot Ionized Medium in thehalos of nine nearby star-forming edge-on spiral galaxies. Diffusegaseous X-ray halos are detected in eight of our targets, covering awide range of star formation rates from quiescent to starburst cases.For four edge-on spiral galaxies, namely NGC 3044, NGC 3221, NGC 4634,and NGC 5775, we present the first published high resolution/sensitivitydetections of extended soft X-ray halos. EPIC X-ray contour mapsoverlaid onto Hα imaging data reveals that in all cases thepresence of X-ray halos is correlated with extraplanar Diffuse IonizedGas. Moreover, these halos are also associated with non-thermal cosmicray halos, as evidenced by radio continuum observations. SupplementalUV-data obtained with the OM-telescope at 210 nm show Diffuse IonizedGas to be well associated with UV emission originating in the underlyingdisk. Beside NGC 891, NGC 4634 is the second non-starburst galaxy with adiffuse soft X-ray halo (|z|≤ 4 kpc). In case of NGC 3877, for whichwe also present the first high resolution X-ray imaging data, no haloemission is detectable. EPIC pn spectra (0.3-12 keV) of the diffuseX-ray emission are extracted at different offset positions from thedisk, giving evidence to a significant decrease of gas temperatures,electron densities, and gas masses with increasing distance to theplane. A comparison between dynamical and radiative cooling time scalesimplies that the outflow in all targets is likely to be sustained. Wefind very strong indications that spatially correlated multi-phasegaseous halos are created by star forming activity in the disk plane. Ina forthcoming paper, we will present multi-frequency luminosityrelations and evaluate key parameters which might trigger the formationof multi-phase galaxy halos. Completing H I observations of galaxies in the Virgo clusterHigh sensitivity (rms noise  0.5 mJy) 21-cm H I line observationswere made of 33 galaxies in the Virgo cluster, using the refurbishedArecibo telescope, which resulted in the detection of 12 objects. Thesedata, combined with the measurements available from the literature,provide the first set of H I data that is complete for all 355 late-type(Sa-Im-BCD) galaxies in the Virgo cluster with mp ≤ 18.0mag. The Virgo cluster H I mass function (HIMF) that was derived forthis optically selected galaxy sample is in agreement with the HIMFderived for the Virgo cluster from the blind HIJASS H I survey and isinconsistent with the Field HIMF. This indicates that both in this richcluster and in the general field, neutral hydrogen is primarilyassociated with late-type galaxies, with marginal contributions fromearly-type galaxies and isolated H I clouds. The inconsistency betweenthe cluster and the field HIMF derives primarily from the difference inthe optical luminosity function of late-type galaxies in the twoenvironments, combined with the HI deficiency that is known to occur ingalaxies in rich clusters.Tables \ref{t1, \ref{sample_dat} and Appendix A are only available inelectronic form at http://www.edpsciences.org On the alignment between binary spiral galaxiesWe show some significance against the null hypothesis of randominteractions of binary spiral galaxies, and in favour of the alternativethat more interactions than expected occur for axes either nearlyparallel (spins being parallel or anti-parallel) or nearly orthogonal.We discuss this in the context of similar prior studies, using adifferent statistical focus in such a way that we are able toincorporate additional data. Radio and Far-Infrared Emission as Tracers of Star Formation and Active Galactic Nuclei in Nearby Cluster GalaxiesWe have studied the radio and far-infrared (FIR) emission from 114galaxies in the seven nearest clusters (<100 Mpc) with prominentX-ray emission to investigate the impact of the cluster environment onthe star formation and active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity in themember galaxies. The X-ray selection criterion is adopted to focus onthe most massive and dynamically relaxed clusters. A large majority ofcluster galaxies show an excess in radio emission over that predictedfrom the radio-FIR correlation, the fraction of sources with radioexcess increases toward cluster cores, and the radial gradient in theFIR/radio flux ratio is a result of radio enhancement. Of theradio-excess sources, 70% are early-type galaxies, and the same fractionhost an AGN. The galaxy density drops by a factor of 10 from thecomposite cluster center out to 1.5 Mpc, yet galaxies show no change inFIR properties over this region and show no indication of masssegregation. We have examined in detail the physical mechanisms thatmight impact the FIR and radio emission of cluster galaxies. Whilecollisional heating of dust may be important for galaxies in clustercenters, it appears to have a negligible effect on the observed FIRemission for our sample galaxies. The correlations between radio and FIRluminosity and radius could be explained by magnetic compression fromthermal intracluster medium pressure. We also find that simple delayedharassment cannot fully account for the observed radio, FIR, and mid-IRproperties of cluster galaxies. Radio continuum spectra of galaxies in the Virgo cluster regionNew radio continuum observations of galaxies in the Virgo cluster regionat 4.85, 8.6, and 10.55 GHz are presented. These observations arecombined with existing measurements at 1.4 and 0.325 GHz. The sampleincludes 81 galaxies where spectra with more than two frequencies couldbe derived. Galaxies that show a radio-FIR excess exhibit centralactivity (HII, LINER, AGN). The four Virgo galaxies with the highestabsolute radio excess are found within 2° of the centerof the cluster. Galaxies showing flat radio spectra also host activecenters. There is no clear trend between the spectral index and thegalaxy's distance to the cluster center.Figure 3 is only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.orgTable 3 is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymousftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/418/1 Spectrophotometry of galaxies in the Virgo cluster. II. The dataDrift-scan mode (3600-6800 Å) spectra with 500 Companions of Bright Barred Shapley-Ames GalaxiesCompanion galaxy environment for a subset of 78 bright and nearby barredgalaxies from the Shapley-Ames Catalog is presented. Among the spiralbarred galaxies, there are Seyfert galaxies, galaxies with circumnuclearstructures, galaxies not associated with any large-scale galaxy cloudstructure, galaxies with peculiar disk morphology (crooked arms), andgalaxies with normal disk morphology; the list includes all Hubbletypes. The companion galaxy list includes the number of companiongalaxies within 20 diameters, their Hubble type, and projectedseparation distance. In addition, the companion environment was searchedfor four known active spiral galaxies, three of them are Seyfertgalaxies, namely, NGC 1068, NGC 1097, and NGC 5548, and one is astarburst galaxy, M82. Among the results obtained, it is noted that theonly spiral barred galaxy classified as Seyfert 1 in our list has nocompanions within a projected distance of 20 diameters; six out of 10Seyfert 2 bar galaxies have no companions within 10 diameters, six outof 10 Seyfert 2 galaxies have one or more companions at projectedseparation distances between 10 and 20 diameters; six out of 12 galaxieswith circumnuclear structures have two or more companions within 20diameters. Star formation in gaseous galaxy halos. VLT-spectroscopy of extraplanar H II-regions in NGC 55We present first deep VLT-spectra of a new class of compact extraplanarobjects located in the disk-halo interface of the edge-on spiral galaxyNGC 55. Their spectra reveal continuum emission from stars and showtypical emission-lines as observed in ordinary disk H Ii-regions. Withrespect to emission-line fluxes, these spectra are very similar to thoseobtained for the diffuse ionized gas (DIG), except [O Iii]lambda 5007which is strongly decreased by more than a factor of 3. Similar to theDIG the prominent ionization stage of oxygen is O+, whereasthe corresponding one for low metallicity H Ii-regions isO++. A comparison with CLOUDY model simulations reveals thatthe ionization mechanism of these compact objects is most likelyphotoionization by late OB stars (O9.5 to B0). Further analysis ofdiagnostic diagrams unambiguously confirms the H Ii-region character.This raises the question whether these extraplanar H Ii-regions (EHRs)originated from the prominent extraplanar gas of this galaxy or havejust been expelled from the disk into the halo. From hydrodynamicalconsiderations ejection from the disk can be ruled out. Therefore, theseobjects must have formed within the halo. Compared to the averageabundance of the central disk H Ii-region (45% Zsun) bothEHRs reveal substantially lower [O/H] abundances of about 10%Zsun. We could establish for the first time strongdifferences in the metal content along the minor axis of this galaxy.Oxygen appears to be less abundant in the halo by about a factor of 4.Since both EHRs are located above the central part of NGC 55, it appearslikely that their formation was triggered by star formation activity inthe disk below. In this environment the molecular gas clouds out ofwhich EHRs have formed can survive and collapse only in the periodbetween two successive bursts of star formation.Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory,Paranal (Chile); Proposal No.: 64.N-0399(A,B). An Hα survey aiming at the detection of extraplanar diffuse ionized gas in halos of edge-on spiral galaxies. I. How common are gaseous halos among non-starburst galaxies?In a series of two papers we present results of a new Hα imagingsurvey, aiming at the detection of extraplanar diffuse ionized gas inhalos of late-type spiral galaxies. We have investigated a sample of 74nearby edge-on spirals, covering the northern and southern hemisphere.In 30 galaxies we detected extraplanar diffuse emission at meandistances of |z| ~ 1-2 kpc. Individual filaments can be traced out to|z|<=6 kpc in a few cases. We find a good correlation between the FIRflux ratio (S60/S100) and the SFR per unit area(LFIR/D225), based on thedetections/non-detections. This is actually valid for starburst, normaland for quiescent galaxies. A minimal SFR per unit area for the lowestS60/S100 values, at which extended emission hasbeen detected, was derived, which amounts to dotEA25thres = (3.2+/-0.5)*E40ergs-1 kpc-2. There are galaxies where extraplanaremission was detected at smaller values ofLFIR/D225, however, only in combinationwith a significantly enhanced dust temperature. The results corroboratethe general view that the gaseous halos are a direct consequence of SFactivity in the underlying galactic disk.Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory,Chile (ESO No. 63.N-0070, ESO No. 64.N-0034, ESO No. 65.N.-0002). A new catalogue of ISM content of normal galaxiesWe have compiled a catalogue of the gas content for a sample of 1916galaxies, considered to be a fair representation of normality''. Thedefinition of a normal'' galaxy adopted in this work implies that wehave purposely excluded from the catalogue galaxies having distortedmorphology (such as interaction bridges, tails or lopsidedness) and/orany signature of peculiar kinematics (such as polar rings,counterrotating disks or other decoupled components). In contrast, wehave included systems hosting active galactic nuclei (AGN) in thecatalogue. This catalogue revises previous compendia on the ISM contentof galaxies published by \citet{bregman} and \citet{casoli}, andcompiles data available in the literature from several small samples ofgalaxies. Masses for warm dust, atomic and molecular gas, as well asX-ray luminosities have been converted to a uniform distance scale takenfrom the Catalogue of Principal Galaxies (PGC). We have used twodifferent normalization factors to explore the variation of the gascontent along the Hubble sequence: the blue luminosity (LB)and the square of linear diameter (D225). Ourcatalogue significantly improves the statistics of previous referencecatalogues and can be used in future studies to define a template ISMcontent for normal'' galaxies along the Hubble sequence. The cataloguecan be accessed on-line and is also available at the Centre desDonnées Stellaires (CDS).The catalogue is available in electronic form athttp://dipastro.pd.astro.it/galletta/ismcat and at the CDS via anonymousftp to\ cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via\http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/405/5 UV to radio centimetric spectral energy distributions of optically-selected late-type galaxies in the Virgo clusterWe present a multifrequency dataset for an optically-selected,volume-limited, complete sample of 118 late-type galaxies (>=S0a) inthe Virgo cluster. The database includes UV, visible, near-IR, mid-IR,far-IR, radio continuum photometric data as well as spectroscopic dataof Hα , CO and HI lines, homogeneously reduced, obtained from ourown observations or compiled from the literature. Assuming the energybalance between the absorbed stellar light and that radiated in the IRby dust, we calibarte an empirical attenuation law suitable forcorrecting photometric and spectroscopic data of normal galaxies. Thedata, corrected for internal extinction, are used to construct thespectral energy distribution (SED) of each individual galaxy, andcombined to trace the median SED of galaxies in various classes ofmorphological type and luminosity. Low-luminosity, dwarf galaxies haveon average bluer stellar continua and higher far-IR luminosities perunit galaxy mass than giant, early-type spirals. If compared to nearbystarburst galaxies such as M 82 and Arp 220, normal spirals haverelatively similar observed stellar spectra but 10-100 times lower IRluminosities. The temperature of the cold dust component increases withthe far-IR luminosity, from giant spirals to dwarf irregulars. The SEDare used to separate the stellar emission from the dust emission in themid-IR regime. We show that the contribution of the stellar emission at6.75 mu m to the total emission of galaxies is generally important, from~ 80% in Sa to ~ 20% in Sc.Tables 2-5, 7, 8, and Fig. 2 are only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.orgTables 10-12 are only available in electronic form at the CDS viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/402/37 1.65-μm (H -band) surface photometry of galaxies - VIII. The near-IR κ space at z =0We present the distribution of a statistical sample of nearby galaxiesin the κ -space (κ 1 ~logM , κ 2~logI e 3 M /L , κ 3 ~logM /L ).Our study is based on near-IR (H -band: λ =1.65μm)observations, for the first time comprising early- and late-typesystems. Our data confirm that the mean effective dynamicalmass-to-light ratio M /L of the E+S0+S0a galaxies increases withincreasing effective dynamical mass M , as expected from the existenceof the Fundamental Plane relation. Conversely, spiral and Im/BCDgalaxies show a broad distribution in M /L with no detected trend of M/L with M , the former galaxies having M /L values about twice largerthan the latter, on average. For all the late-type galaxies, the M /Lincreases with decreasing effective surface intensity I e ,consistent with the existence of the Tully-Fisher relation. Theseresults are discussed on the basis of the assumptions behind theconstruction of the κ -space and their limitations. Our study iscomplementary to a previous investigation in the optical (B -band:λ =0.44μm) and allows us to study wavelength dependences ofthe galaxy distribution in the κ -space. As a first result, wefind that the galaxy distribution in the κ 1 -κ2 plane reproduces the transition from bulgeless tobulge-dominated systems in galaxies of increasing dynamical mass.Conversely, it appears that the M /L of late-types is higher (lower)than that of early-types with the same M in the near-IR (optical). Theorigins of this behaviour are discussed in terms of dust attenuation andstar formation history. Emission-Line Ratios and Variations in Temperature and Ionization State in the Diffuse Ionized Gas of Five Edge-on GalaxiesWe present spectroscopic observations of ionized gas in the disk-haloregions of five edge-on galaxies, covering a wavelength range from [OII] 3727 Å to [S II] 6716.4 Å. The inclusion of the [O II]emission provides additional constraints on the properties of thediffuse ionized gas (DIG), in particular, the origin of the observedspatial variations in the line intensity ratios. We have derivedelectron temperatures, ionization fractions, and abundances along theslit. Our data include slit positions both parallel and perpendicular tothe galactic disks. This allowed us to examine variations in the lineintensity ratios with height above the midplane, as well as withdistance from the galactic centers. The observed increase in the [OII]/Hα line ratio toward the halo seems to require an increase inelectron temperature caused by a nonionizing heating mechanism. Weconclude that gradients in the electron temperature can play asignificant role in the observed variations in the optical emission-lineratios from extraplanar DIG. The Three-dimensional Structure of the Virgo Cluster Region from Tully-Fisher and H I DataThe distances and H I contents of 161 spiral galaxies in the region ofthe Virgo cluster are used to gain insight into the complicatedstructure of this galaxy system. Special attention has been paid to theinvestigation of the suggestion presented in an earlier work that someperipheral Virgo groups may contain strongly gas-deficient spiralgalaxies. The three-dimensional galaxy distribution has been inferredfrom quality distance estimates obtained by averaging distance modulibased on the Tully-Fisher relationship taken from eight published datasets previously homogenized, resulting in a relation with a dispersionof 0.41 mag. Previous findings that the spiral distribution issubstantially more elongated along the line of sight than in the planeof the sky are confirmed by the current data. In addition, an importanteast-west disparity in this effect has been detected. The overallwidth-to-depth ratio of the Virgo cluster region is about 1:4, with themost distant objects concentrated in the western half. The filamentarystructure of the spiral population and its orientation are alsoreflected by the H I-deficient objects alone. The H I deficiency patternshows a central enhancement extending from ~16 to 22 Mpc inline-of-sight distance; most of this enhancement arises from galaxiesthat belong to the Virgo cluster proper. However, significant gasdeficiencies are also detected outside the main body of the cluster in aprobable group of galaxies at line-of-sight distances ~25-30 Mpc, lyingin the region dominated by the southern edge of the M49 subcluster andclouds W' and W, as well as in various foreground galaxies. In the Virgoregion, the H I content of the galaxies then is not a straightforwardindicator of cluster membership. The UZC-SSRS2 Group CatalogWe apply a friends-of-friends algorithm to the combined Updated ZwickyCatalog and Southern Sky Redshift Survey to construct a catalog of 1168groups of galaxies; 411 of these groups have five or more members withinthe redshift survey. The group catalog covers 4.69 sr, and all groupsexceed the number density contrast threshold, δρ/ρ=80. Wedemonstrate that the groups catalog is homogeneous across the twounderlying redshift surveys; the catalog of groups and their membersthus provides a basis for other statistical studies of the large-scaledistribution of groups and their physical properties. The medianphysical properties of the groups are similar to those for groupsderived from independent surveys, including the ESO Key Programme andthe Las Campanas Redshift Survey. We include tables of groups and theirmembers. Hα surface photometry of galaxies in the Virgo cluster. IV. The current star formation in nearby clusters of galaxiesHα +[NII] imaging observations of 369 late-type (spiral) galaxiesin the Virgo cluster and in the Coma/A1367 supercluster are analyzed,covering 3 rich nearby clusters (A1367, Coma and Virgo) and nearlyisolated galaxies in the Great-Wall. They constitute an opticallyselected sample (mp<16.0) observed with ~ 60 %completeness. These observations provide us with the current(T<107 yrs) star formation properties of galaxies that westudy as a function of the clustercentric projected distances (Theta ).The expected decrease of the star formation rate (SFR), as traced by theHα EW, with decreasing Theta is found only when galaxies brighterthan Mp ~ -19.5 are considered. Fainter objects show no orreverse trends. We also include in our analysis Near Infrared data,providing information on the old (T>109 yrs) stars. Puttogether, the young and the old stellar indicators give the ratio ofcurrently formed stars over the stars formed in the past, orbirthrate'' parameter b. For the considered galaxies we also determinethe global gas content'' combining HI with CO observations. We definethe gas deficiency'' parameter as the logarithmic difference betweenthe gas content of isolated galaxies of a given Hubble type and themeasured gas content. For the isolated objects we find that b decreaseswith increasing NIR luminosity. In other words less massive galaxies arecurrently forming stars at a higher rate than their giant counterpartswhich experienced most of their star formation activity at earliercosmological epochs. The gas-deficient objects, primarily members of theVirgo cluster, have a birthrate significantly lower than the isolatedobjects with normal gas content and of similar NIR luminosity. Thisindicates that the current star formation is regulated by the gaseouscontent of spirals. Whatever mechanism (most plausibly ram-pressurestripping) is responsible for the pattern of gas deficiency observed inspiral galaxies members of rich clusters, it also produces the observedquenching of the current star formation. A significant fraction of gashealthy'' (i.e. with a gas deficiency parameter less than 0.4) andcurrently star forming galaxies is unexpectedly found projected near thecenter of the Virgo cluster. Their average Tully-Fisher distance isfound approximately one magnitude further away (muo = 31.77)than the distance of their gas-deficient counterparts (muo =30.85), suggesting that the gas healthy objects belong to a cloudprojected onto the cluster center, but in fact lying a few Mpc behindVirgo, thus unaffected by the dense IGM of the cluster. Based onobservations taken at the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional(Mexico), the OHP (France), Calar Alto and NOT (Spain) observatories.Table \ref{tab4} is only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.org Hα surface photometry of galaxies in the Virgo cluster. II. Observations with the OHP and Calar Alto 1.2 m telescopesWe present Hα line imaging observations of 122 galaxies obtainedwith the 1.20 m telescopes of the Observatoire de Haute Provence (OHP)and of Calar Alto. The observed galaxies are mostly Virgo clustermembers (95), along with 10 objects in the Coma/A1367 supercluster, 6 inthe clusters A2197 and A2199, and 11 nearby galaxies taken as fillers.Hα +[NII] fluxes and equivalent widths, as well as images of allthe detected targets, are presented. Based on observations taken at theObservatoire de Haute Provence (OHP) (France), operated by the FrenchCNRS, and Calar Alto Observatory (Spain), operated by theMax-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (Heidelberg) jointly with theSpanish National Commission for Astronomy. Figure 1 is only available inelectronic form at http://www.edpsciences.org Properties of tidally-triggered vertical disk perturbationsWe present a detailed analysis of the properties of warps andtidally-triggered perturbations perpendicular to the plane of 47interacting/merging edge-on spiral galaxies. The derived parameters arecompared with those obtained for a sample of 61 non-interacting edge-onspirals. The entire optical (R-band) sample used for this study waspresented in two previous papers. We find that the scale height of disksin the interacting/merging sample is characterized by perturbations onboth large ( =~ disk cut-off radius) and short ( =~ z0)scales, with amplitudes of the order of 280 pc and 130 pc on average,respectively. The size of these large (short) -scale instabilitiescorresponds to 14% (6%) of the mean disk scale height. This is a factorof 2 (1.5) larger than the value found for non-interacting galaxies. Ahallmark of nearly all tidally distorted disks is a scale height thatincreases systematically with radial distance. The frequent occurrenceand the significantly larger size of these gradients indicate that diskasymmetries on large scales are a common and persistent phenomenon,while local disturbances and bending instabilities decline on shortertimescales. Nearly all (93%) of the interacting/merging and 45% of thenon-interacting galaxies studied are noticeably warped. Warps ofinteracting/merging galaxies are ~ 2.5 times larger on average thanthose observed in the non-interacting sample, with sizes of the order of340 pc and 140 pc, respectively. This indicates that tidal distortionsdo considerably contribute to the formation and size of warps. However,they cannot entirely explain the frequent occurrence of warped disks.Based on observations obtained at the European Southern Observatory(ESO, La Silla, Chile), Calar Alto Observatory operated by the MPIA(DSAZ, Spain), Lowell Observatory (Flagstaff,AZ, USA), and Hoher ListObservatory (Germany). The impact of bars on the mid-infrared dust emission of spiral galaxies: global and circumnuclear propertiesWe study the mid-infrared properties of a sample of 69 nearby spiralgalaxies, selected to avoid Seyfert activity contributing a significantfraction of the central energetics, or strong tidal interaction, and tohave normal infrared luminosities. These observations were obtained withISOCAM, which provides an angular resolution of the order of 10arcsec(half-power diameter of the point spread function) and low-resolutionspectro-imaging information. Between 5 and 18 mu m, we mainly observetwo dust phases, aromatic infrared bands and very small grains, both outof thermal equilibrium. On this sample, we show that the globalF15/F_7 colors of galaxies are very uniform, the onlyincrease being found in early-type strongly barred galaxies, consistentwith previous IRAS studies. The F15/F_7 excesses areunambiguously due to galactic central regions where bar-inducedstarbursts occur. However, the existence of strongly barred early-typegalaxies with normal circumnuclear colors indicates that therelationship between a distortion of the gravitational potential and acentral starburst is not straightforward. As the physical processes atwork in central regions are in principle identical in barred andunbarred galaxies, and since this is where the mid-infrared activity ismainly located, we investigate the mid-infrared circumnuclear propertiesof all the galaxies in our sample. We show how surface brightnesses andcolors are related to both the available molecular gas content and themean age of stellar populations contributing to dust heating. Therefore,the star formation history in galactic central regions can beconstrained by their position in a color-surface brightness mid-infrareddiagram. Based on observations with ISO, an ESA project with instrumentsfunded by ESA Member States (especially the PI countries: France,Germany, the Netherlands and the UK) and with the participation of ISASand NASA. An atlas of mid-infrared dust emission in spiral galaxiesWe present maps of dust emission at 7 mu m and 15 mu m/7 mu m intensityratios of selected regions in 43 spiral galaxies observed with ISOCAM.This atlas is a complement to studies based on these observations,dealing with star formation in centers of barred galaxies and in spiraldisks. It is accompanied by a detailed description of data reduction andan inventory of generic morphological properties in groups definedaccording to bar strength and HI gas content. Based on observations withISO, an ESA project with instruments funded by ESA Member States(especially the PI countries: France, Germany, The Netherlands and theUK) and with the participation of ISAS and NASA. Nearby Optical Galaxies: Selection of the Sample and Identification of GroupsIn this paper we describe the Nearby Optical Galaxy (NOG) sample, whichis a complete, distance-limited (cz<=6000 km s-1) andmagnitude-limited (B<=14) sample of ~7000 optical galaxies. Thesample covers 2/3 (8.27 sr) of the sky (|b|>20deg) andappears to have a good completeness in redshift (97%). We select thesample on the basis of homogenized corrected total blue magnitudes inorder to minimize systematic effects in galaxy sampling. We identify thegroups in this sample by means of both the hierarchical and thepercolation friends-of-friends'' methods. The resulting catalogs ofloose groups appear to be similar and are among the largest catalogs ofgroups currently available. Most of the NOG galaxies (~60%) are found tobe members of galaxy pairs (~580 pairs for a total of ~15% of objects)or groups with at least three members (~500 groups for a total of ~45%of objects). About 40% of galaxies are left ungrouped (field galaxies).We illustrate the main features of the NOG galaxy distribution. Comparedto previous optical and IRAS galaxy samples, the NOG provides a densersampling of the galaxy distribution in the nearby universe. Given itslarge sky coverage, the identification of groups, and its high-densitysampling, the NOG is suited to the analysis of the galaxy density fieldof the nearby universe, especially on small scales. Box- and peanut-shaped bulges. I. StatisticsWe present a classification for bulges of a complete sample of ~ 1350edge-on disk galaxies derived from the RC3 (Third Reference Catalogue ofBright Galaxies, de Vaucouleurs et al. \cite{rc3}). A visualclassification of the bulges using the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) inthree types of b/p bulges or as an elliptical type is presented andsupported by CCD images. NIR observations reveal that dust extinctiondoes almost not influence the shape of bulges. There is no substantialdifference between the shape of bulges in the optical and in the NIR.Our analysis reveals that 45% of all bulges are box- and peanut-shaped(b/p). The frequency of b/p bulges for all morphological types from S0to Sd is > 40%. In particular, this is for the first time that such alarge frequency of b/p bulges is reported for galaxies as late as Sd.The fraction of the observed b/p bulges is large enough to explain theb/p bulges by bars. Partly based on observations collected at ESO/LaSilla (Chile), DSAZ/Calar Alto (Spain), and Lowell Observatory/Flagstaff(AZ/U.S.A.). Tables 6 and 7 are only available in electronic form at CDSvia anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html The influence of interactions and minor mergers on the structure of galactic disks I. Observations and disk modelsThis paper is the first part in our series on the influence of tidalinteractions and minor mergers on the radial and vertical disk structureof spiral galaxies. We report on the sample selection, our observations,and data reduction. Surface photometry of the optical and near infrareddata of a sample of 110 highly-inclined/edge-on disk galaxies arepresented. This sample consists of two subsamples of 61 non-interactinggalaxies (control sample) and of 49 interacting galaxies/minor mergingcandidates. Additionally, 41 of these galaxies were observed in the nearinfrared. We show that the distribution of morphological types of bothsubsamples is almost indistinguishable, covering the range between 0<= T <= 9. An improved, 3-dimensional disk modelling- and fittingprocedure is described in order to analyze and to compare the diskstructure of our sample galaxies by using characteristic parameters. Wefind that the vertical brightness profiles of galactic disks respondvery sensitive even to small deviations from the perfect edge-onorientation. Hence, projection effects of slightly inclined disks maycause substantial changes in the value of the disk scale height and musttherefore be considered in the subsequent study. Based on observationsobtained at the European Southern Observatory (ESO, La Silla, Chile),Calar Alto Observatory operated by the MPIA (DSAZ, Spain), LowellObservatory (Flagstaff/AZ, USA), and Hoher List Observatory (Germany). Box- and peanut-shaped bulges. II. NIR observationsWe have observed 60 edge-on galaxies in the NIR in order to study thestellar distribution in galaxies with box/peanut-shaped bulges. The muchsmaller amount of dust extinction at these wavelengths allows us toidentify in almost all target galaxies with box/peanut-shaped bulges anadditional thin, central component in cuts parallel to the major axis.This structure can be identified with a bar. The length of thisstructure scaled by the length of the bulge correlates with themorphologically classified shape of the bulge. This newly establishedcorrelation is therefore mainly interpreted as the projection of the barat different aspect angles. Galaxies with peanut bulges have a bar seennearly edge-on and the ratio of bar length to thickness, 14 +/- 4, canbe directly measured for the first time. In addition, the correlation ofthe boxiness of bulges with the bar strength indicates that the barcharacteristic could partly explain differences in the bulge shape.Furthermore, a new size relation between the box/peanut structure andthe central bulge is found. Our observations are discussed in comparisonto a N-body simulation for barred galaxies (Pfenniger & Friedli\cite{pfe}). We conclude that the inner region of barred disk galaxiesare build up by three distinct components: the spheroidal bulge, a thinbar, and a b/p structure most likely representing the thick part of thebar. Based on observations collected at ESO/La Silla (61.A-0143),DSAZ/Calar Alto, and TIRGO/Gornergrat.} Spectroscopy of diffuse ionized gas in halos of selected edge-on galaxiesIn order to examine the excitation and ionization mechanism ofextraplanar diffuse ionized gas (DIG) we have obtained optical longslitspectra of seven edge-on spiral galaxies. In four objects the brightestemission lines can be traced out to distances of typically 1.5 kpc abovethe disk. For NGC 1963 and NGC 3044 line ratios such as [N Ii]lambda6583 /Hα or [S Ii] lambda6717 /Hα as well as [ion{O{iii}] lambda5007 }/Hβ could be measured for the halo DIG. Thisallows us to discuss the DIG in the halo of these objects in theframework of diagnostic diagrams. For these two objects, the line ratiosof [ion {O{iii}] lambda5007 }/Hβ decrease with increasing |z|,different from the recently reported trend in NGC 891 (Rand\cite{rand}). We find that emission lines from the DIG in the disks arein good agreement with photoionization models using a dilute radiationfield. However, with increasing |z| these models fail to predict themeasured [ion {Oi] lambda 6300}/Hα \ and ion {Hei lambda5876}/Hα line ratios for NGC 1963. Diagnostic diagrams reveal forNGC 1963 the need for a second ionization mechanism of the halo DIG(besides photoionization). This additional source could be shockionization. The same diagrams demonstrate an intermediate classificationfor NGC 3044. Plots of [ion {S}{ii}]/[ion {N}{ii}] vs. emission measurereveal significant changes towards the halo and seem to trace localsmall scale density fluctuations of the extraplanar DIG. Based onobservations obtained at ESO/La Silla (Chile) 1.65 μm (H-band) surface photometry of galaxies. V. Profile decomposition of 1157 galaxiesWe present near-infrared H-band (1.65 μm) surface brightness profiledecomposition for 1157 galaxies in five nearby clusters of galaxies:Coma, A1367, Virgo, A262 and Cancer, and in the bridge between Coma andA1367 in the Great Wall". The optically selected (mpg≤16.0) sample is representative of all Hubble types, from E to Irr+BCD,except dE and of significantly different environments, spanning fromisolated regions to rich clusters of galaxies. We model the surfacebrightness profiles with a de Vaucouleurs r1/4 law (dV), withan exponential disk law (E), or with a combination of the two (B+D).From the fitted quantities we derive the H band effective surfacebrightness (μe) and radius (re) of each component, theasymptotic magnitude HT and the light concentration indexC31. We find that: i) Less than 50% of the Ellipticalgalaxies have pure dV profiles. The majority of E to Sb galaxies is bestrepresented by a B+D profile. All Scd to BCD galaxies have pureexponential profiles. ii) The type of decomposition is a strong functionof the total H band luminosity (mass), independent of the Hubbleclassification: the fraction of pure exponential decompositionsdecreases with increasing luminosity, that of B+D increases withluminosity. Pure dV profiles are absent in the low luminosity rangeLH<1010 L\odot and become dominantabove 1011 L\odot . Based on observations taken atTIRGO, Gornergrat, Switzerland (operated by CAISMI-CNR, Arcetri,Firenze, Italy) and at the Calar Alto Observatory (operated by theMax-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (Heidelberg) jointly with theSpanish National Commission for Astronomy). Table 2 and Figs. 2, 3, 4are available in their entirety only in electronic form at the CDS viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html The influence of interactions and minor mergers on the structure of galactic disks. II. Results and interpretationsWe present the second part of a detailed statistical study focussed onthe effects of tidal interactions and minor mergers on the radial andvertical disk structure of spiral galaxies. In the first part wereported on the sample selection, observations, and applied disk models.In this paper the results are presented, based on disk parametersderived from a sample of 110 highly-inclined/edge-on galaxies. Thissample consists of two subsamples of 49 interacting/merging and 61non-interacting galaxies. Additionally, 41 of these galaxies wereobserved in the NIR. We find significant changes of the disk structurein vertical direction, resulting in ~ 1.5 times larger scale heights andthus vertical velocity dispersions. The radial disk structure,characterized by the cut-off radius and the scale length, shows nostatistically significant changes. Thus, the ratio of radial to verticalscale parameters, h/z0, is ~ 1.7 times smaller for the sampleof interacting/merging galaxies. The total lack of typical flat diskratios h/z0 > 7 in the latter sample implies that verticaldisk heating is most efficient for (extremely) thin disks. Statisticallynearly all galactic disks in the sample (93%) possess non-isothermalvertical luminosity profiles like the sech (60%) and exp (33%)distribution, independent of the sample and passband investigated. Thisindicates that, in spite of tidal perturbations and disk thickening, theinitial vertical distribution of disk stars is not destroyed byinteractions or minor mergers. Based on observations obtained at theEuropean Southern Observatory (ESO, La Silla, Chile), Calar AltoObservatory operated by the MPIA (DSAZ, Spain), Lowell Observatory(Flagstaff/AZ, USA), and Hoher List Observatory (Germany). Extraplanar diffuse ionized gas in a small sample of nearby edge-on galaxiesWe present narrowband Hα imaging data of a small survey of nearbyedge-on spiral galaxies, aiming at the detection of extraplanar'diffuse ionized gas (DIG). A few of our studied edge-on spirals showsigns of disk-halo interaction (DHI), where extended line emission farabove the galactic plane of these galaxies is detected. In some cases anextraplanar diffuse ionized gas (eDIG) layer is discovered, e.g.,NGC4634, NGC 3044, while othergalaxies show only filamentary features reaching into the halo (e.g.,IC 2531) and some galaxies show no sign of eDIG atall. The extraplanar distances of the DIG layer in our narrowbandHα images reach values of z<= 2 kpc above the galactic plane.The derived star formation rates (SFRs) from the Hα flux of thestudied galaxies range from 0.05-0.7 Msun yr-1,neglecting a correction for internal absorption. The variation of theSFR values among our sample galaxies reflects the diversity of starformation within this sample. A diagnostic diagram is introduced, whichallows to predict the existence of gas halos in quiescent' galaxiesbased on the ratio S60 /S100 versusLFIR / D225 in this diagram. We comparethe positions of the non-starburst galaxies with starburst galaxies,since these galaxies populate distinct positions in these diagrams.Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, LaSilla, Chile Arcsecond Positions of UGC GalaxiesWe present accurate B1950 and J2000 positions for all confirmed galaxiesin the Uppsala General Catalog (UGC). The positions were measuredvisually from Digitized Sky Survey images with rms uncertaintiesσ<=[(1.2")2+(θ/100)2]1/2,where θ is the major-axis diameter. We compared each galaxymeasured with the original UGC description to ensure high reliability.The full position list is available in the electronic version only. A Search for Extraplanar Dust in Nearby Edge-on SpiralsWe present high-resolution (0.6" to ~1.0") BV images of 12 edge-onspiral galaxies observed with the WIYN 3.5 m telescope. These imageswere obtained to search for extraplanar (|z|>0.4 kpc) absorbing duststructures similar to those previously found in NGC 891 (Howk &Savage). Many of these galaxies have been previously searched fordiffuse ionized gas at high z. Our imaged galaxies include a sample ofseven massive L_*-like spiral galaxies within D<~25 Mpc that haveinclinations i>~87^deg from the plane of the sky. We find that fiveof these seven systems show extraplanar dust, visible as highlystructured absorbing clouds against the background stellar light of thegalaxies. These dust structures lie at heights |z|>~0.4 kpc, whichshould be above most of the thin disk molecular material in thesegalaxies. The more prominent structures are estimated to have associatedgas masses >~10^5 M_solar the implied potential energies are>~10^52 ergs. All of the galaxies in our sample that show detectableHα emission at large z also show extraplanar dust structures. Noneof those galaxies for which extraplanar Hα searches were negativeshow evidence for extensive high-z dust. The existence of extraplanardust is a common property of massive spiral galaxies. We discuss severalmechanisms for shaping the observed dust features. We emphasize in thisdiscussion the possibility that these dusty clouds represent the densephase of a multiphase medium at high z in spiral galaxies. In a fewcases interactions with close galaxy companions could be responsible forthe high-z dust, either through dynamical stripping or triggered starformation. We can rule out warps as the source of the observed high-zdust. Flaring gas layers seem an unlikely source of the observedmaterial but cannot be ruled out at this time, except for those featuresthat clearly connect to energetic processes in the disk. The correlationbetween high-z dust and extraplanar Hα emission may simply suggestthat both trace the high-z interstellar medium in its various forms (orphases), the existence of which may ultimately be driven by vigorousstar formation in the underlying disk. The absorption produced by high-zdust and associated gas in spiral galaxies must be accounted for whenstudying extraplanar emission from spiral galaxies over much of theelectromagnetic spectrum.
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