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Title: STAR FORMATION IN TWO LUMINOUS SPIRAL GALAXIES

We examined star formation in two very luminous (M{sub V} = –22 to –23) Sc-type spiral galaxies, NGC 801 and UGC 2885, using ultra-deep Hα images. We combine these Hα images with UBV and Two-Micron All-Sky Survey JHK images and H I maps to explore the star formation characteristics of disk galaxies at high luminosity. Hα traces star formation in these galaxies to 4-6 disk scale lengths, but the lack of detection of Hα further out is likely due to the loss of Lyman continuum photons. Considering gravitational instabilities alone, we find that the gas and stars in the outer regions are marginally stable in an average sense, but considering dissipative gas and radial and azimuthal forcing, the outer regions are marginally unstable to forming spiral arms. Star formation is taking place in spiral arms, which are regions of locally higher gas densities. Furthermore, we have traced smooth exponential stellar disks over four magnitudes in V-band surface brightness and 4-6 disk scale lengths, in spite of a highly variable gravitational instability parameter. Thus, gravitational instability thresholds do not seem relevant to the stellar disk. One possibility for creating an exponential disk is that the molecular cloud densities and star formationmore » rates have exponential profiles and this fact forces the stellar disk to build up such a profile. Another possibility is that the stellar disk is continuously adjusted to an exponential shape regardless of the star formation profile, for example, through global dynamical processes that scatter stars. However, such scattering processes are only known to operate in spiral systems, in which case they cannot explain the same dilemma of smooth exponential disks observed in dwarf irregular galaxies.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ;  [4]
  1. Lowell Observatory, 1400 West Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 (United States)
  2. IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, P.O. Box 218, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 (United States)
  3. Carnegie Institution of Washington, 5241 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington, DC 20015 (United States)
  4. ASTRON (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO), Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991-PD Dwingeloo (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22273324
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online); Journal Volume: 146; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; BRIGHTNESS; GALAXIES; GRAVITATIONAL INSTABILITY; HYDROGEN 1; IMAGES; LOSSES; LUMINOSITY; LYMAN LINES; PHOTONS; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS