Journal Article

Exploring disc galaxy dynamics using integral field unit data

E. Noordermeer, M. R. Merrifield and A. Aragón-Salamanca

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 388, issue 3, pages 1381-1393
Published in print August 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13487.x
Exploring disc galaxy dynamics using integral field unit data

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In order to test the basic equations believed to dictate the dynamics of disc galaxies, we present and analyse deep two-dimensional spectral data obtained using the PPAK integral field unit for the early-type spiral systems NGC 2273, NGC 2985, NGC 3898 and NGC 5533. We describe the care needed to obtain and process such data to a point where reliable kinematic measurements can be obtained from these observations, and a new more optimal method for deriving the rotational motion and velocity dispersions in such disc systems. The data from NGC 2273 and NGC 2985 show systematic variations in velocity dispersion with azimuth, as one would expect if the shapes of their velocity ellipsoids are significantly anisotropic, while the hotter discs in NGC 3898 and NGC 5533 appear to have fairly isotropic velocity dispersions. Correcting the rotational motion for asymmetric drift using the derived velocity dispersions reproduces the rotation curves inferred from emission lines reasonably well, implying that this correction is quite robust, and that the use of the asymmetric drift equation is valid. NGC 2985 is sufficiently close to face on for the data, combined with the asymmetric drift equation, to determine all three components of the velocity ellipsoid. The principal axes of this velocity ellipsoid are found to be in the ratio σz : σφ : σR≈ 0.7 : 0.7 : 1, which shows unequivocally that this disc distribution function respects a third integral of motion. The ratio is also consistent with the predictions of epicyclic theory, giving some confidence in the application of this approximation to even fairly early-type disc galaxies.

Keywords: galaxies: individual: NGC 2273; galaxies: individual: NGC 2985; galaxies: individual: NGC 3898; galaxies: individual: NGC 5533; galaxies: kinematics and dynamics; galaxies: spiral

Journal Article.  9526 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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