Stellar disks of collisional ring galaxies. I. New multiband images, radial intensity and color profiles, and confrontation with n-body simulations.
ROMANO R., MAYYA Y.D. and VOROBYOV E.I.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present new multiband imaging data in the optical (BVRI and Hα) and near-infrared bands (JHK) of 15 candidate ring galaxies from the sample of Appleton and Struck-Marcell. We use these data to obtain color composite images, global magnitudes and colors of both the ring galaxy and its companion(s), and radial profiles of intensity and colors. We find that only nine of the observed galaxies have multiband morphologies expected for the classical collisional scenario of ring formation, indicating the high degree of contamination of the ring galaxy sample by galaxies without a clear ring morphology. The radial intensity profiles, obtained by masking the off-centered nucleus, peak at the position of the ring, with the profiles in the continuum bands broader than those in the Hα line. The images as well as the radial intensity and color profiles clearly demonstrate the existence of the pre-collisional stellar disk outside the star-forming ring, which is in general bluer than the disk internal to the ring. The stellar disk seems to have retained its size, with the disk outside the ring having a shorter exponential scale length as compared to the values expected in normal spiral galaxies of comparable masses. The rings in our sample of galaxies are found to be located preferentially at around half-way through the stellar disk. The most likely reason for this preference is bias against detecting rings when they are close to the center (they would be confused with the resonant rings), and at the edge of the disk the gas surface density may be below the critical density required for star formation. Most of the observed characteristics point to relatively recent collisions (<80 Myr ago) according to the N-body simulations of Gerber et al.