All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Physics  1996 

Ultraviolet Signatures of Tidal Interaction in the Giant Spiral Galaxy, M101

DOI: 10.1086/304057

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib

Abstract:

We present new evidence for tidal interactions having occurred in the disk of M101 in the last 10^8 - 10^9 years. Recent imaging of the far-ultraviolet emission from M101 by the Shuttle-borne Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT) reveals with unprecedented clarity a disk-wide pattern of multiple linear arm segments (``crooked arms''). The deep FUV image also shows a faint outer spiral arm with a (``curly tail'') feature that appears to loop around the supergiant HII region NGC 5471 - linking this outlying starburst with the rest of the galaxy. These FUV-bright features most likely trace hot O & B-type stars along with scattered light from associated nebular dust. Counterparts of the outermost ``crooked arms'' are evident in maps at visible wavelengths and in the 21-cm line of HI. The inner-disk FUV arms are most closely associated with H$\alpha$ knots and the outer (downstream) sides of CO arms. Comparisons of the ``crooked arm'' and ``curly tail'' morphologies with dynamical simulations yield the greatest similitude, when the non- axisymmetric forcing comes from a combination of ``external interactions'' with one or more companion galaxies and ``internal perturbations'' from massive objects orbiting within the disk. We speculate that NGC 5471 represents one of these ``massive disturbers'' within the disk, whose formation followed from a tidal interaction between M101 and a smaller galaxy.

Full-Text

comments powered by Disqus