Journal Article

The Stellar Content of Active Galaxies

Roberto Cid Fernandes, Thaisa Storchi-Bergmann and Henrique R. Schmitt

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 297, issue 2, pages 579-616
Published in print June 1998 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 1998 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.1998.01519.x
The Stellar Content of Active Galaxies

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We present the results of a long-slit spectroscopic study of 38 active and four normal galaxies. Stellar absorption features, continuum colours and their radial variations are analysed in an effort to characterize the stellar population in these galaxies and detect the presence of a featureless continuum underlying the starlight spectral component. Spatial variations of the equivalent widths of conspicuous absorption lines and continuum colours are detected in most galaxies. Star-forming rings, in particular, leave clear fingerprints in the equivalent widths and colour profiles. We find that the stellar populations in the inner regions of active galaxies present a variety of characteristics, and cannot be represented by a single starlight template. Dilution of the stellar lines by an underlying featureless continuum is detected in most broad-lined objects, but little or no dilution is found for most of the 20 type 2 Seyferts in the sample. Colour gradients are also ubiquitous. In particular, all but one of the observed Seyfert 2s are redder at the nucleus than in its immediate vicinity. Possible consequences of these findings are briefly outlined.

Keywords: galaxies: active; galaxies: general; galaxies: nuclei; galaxies: Seyfert; galaxies: stellar content

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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