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Title: A FUNDAMENTAL PLANE OF SPIRAL STRUCTURE IN DISK GALAXIES

Spiral structure is the most distinctive feature of disk galaxies and yet debate persists about which theory of spiral structure is correct. Many versions of the density wave theory demand that the pitch angle be uniquely determined by the distribution of mass in the bulge and disk of the galaxy. We present evidence that the tangent of the pitch angle of logarithmic spiral arms in disk galaxies correlates strongly with the density of neutral atomic hydrogen in the disk and with the central stellar bulge mass of the galaxy. These three quantities, when plotted against each other, form a planar relationship that we argue should be fundamental to our understanding of spiral structure in disk galaxies. We further argue that any successful theory of spiral structure must be able to explain this relationship.
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7]
  1. Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, University of Arkansas, 346 1/2 North Arkansas Avenue, Fayetteville, AR 72701 (United States)
  2. Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 800, NL-9700 AV Groningen (Netherlands)
  3. School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, 837 State Street, Atlanta, GA 30332 (United States)
  4. Department of Physics, University of Arkansas, 226 Physics Building, 835 West Dickson Street, Fayetteville, AR 72701 (United States)
  5. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 136 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019 (United States)
  6. Leiden Observatory, P.O. Box 9513, NL-2300 RA Leiden (Netherlands)
  7. National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518819
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 802; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ATOMS; DENSITY; GALACTIC EVOLUTION; GALAXIES; HYDROGEN; INCLINATION; MASS