Measurement of non-axisymmetry in centres of advanced mergers of galaxies

Jog, Chanda J. ; Maybhate, Aparna (2006) Measurement of non-axisymmetry in centres of advanced mergers of galaxies Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 370 (2). pp. 891-901. ISSN 0035-8711

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We measure the non-axisymmetry in the luminosity distribution in the inner few kpc of the remnants of advanced mergers of galaxies with a view to understand the relaxation in the central regions. For this, we analyse the images from the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) archival data for a selected sample of 12 merging galaxies, which show signs of interaction but have a single nucleus. The central regions are fitted by elliptical isophotes whose centres are allowed to vary to get the best fit. The centres of isophotes show a striking sloshing pattern with a spatial variation of up to 20-30 per cent within the central 1 kpc. This indicates mass asymmetry and a dynamically unrelaxed behaviour in the central region. Next, we Fourier-analyse the galaxy images while keeping the centre constant and measure the deviation from axisymmetry in terms of the fractional Fourier amplitudes (A1, A2, etc.) as a function of radius. All the mergers show a high value of lopsidedness (up to A1~ 0.2) in the central 5 kpc. The m=2 asymmetry is even stronger, with values of A2 up to ~0.3, and in three cases these are shown to represent bars. The corresponding values denoting non-axisymmetry in inner regions of a control sample of eight non-merger galaxies are found to be several times smaller. Surprisingly, this central asymmetry is seen even in mergers where the outer regions have relaxed into a smooth elliptical-like r¼ profile or a spiral-like exponential profile. Thus, the central asymmetry is long lived, estimated to be ~1 Gyr, and hence lasts for over 100 local dynamical time-scales. These central asymmetries are expected to play a key role in the future dynamical evolution of the central region of a merger, and can help in feeding of a central active galactic nucleus.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Royal Astronomical Society.
Keywords:Galaxies: Evolution; Galaxies: Kinematics and Dynamics; Galaxies: Interactions; Galaxies: Photometry; Galaxies: Structure
ID Code:14196
Deposited On:12 Nov 2010 08:53
Last Modified:16 May 2016 23:12

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