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Post Info TOPIC: NGC 3169 and NGC 3166


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Posts: 131433
Date:
AGC 208457
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Title: Pre-existing dwarfs, tidal knots and a tidal dwarf galaxy: an unbiased HI study of the gas-rich interacting galaxy group NGC 3166/9
Authors: Karen Lee-Waddell, Kristine Spekkens, Martha P. Haynes, Sabrina Stierwalt, Jayaram Chengalur, Poonam Chandra, Riccardo Giovanelli

We present Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) and follow-up Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) HI observations of the gas-rich interacting group NGC 3166/9. The sensitive ALFALFA data provide a complete census of HI-bearing systems in the group while the high-resolution GMRT data elucidate their origin, enabling one of the first unbiased physical studies of gas-rich dwarf companions and the subsequent identification of second generation, tidal dwarf galaxies in a nearby group. The ALFALFA maps reveal an extended HI envelope around the NGC 3166/9 group core, which we mosaic at higher resolution using six GMRT pointings spanning ~1 square degree. A thorough search of the GMRT datacube reveals eight low-mass objects with gas masses ranging from 4x10^7 to 3x10^8 solar masses and total dynamical masses up to 1.4x10^9 solar masses. A comparison of the HI fluxes measured from the GMRT data to those measured in the ALFALFA data suggests that a significant fraction (~60%) of the HI is smoothly distributed on scales greater than an arcminute (~7 kpc at the NGC 3166/9 distance). We compute stellar masses and star formation rates for the eight low-mass GMRT detections, using ancillary SDSS and GALEX data, and use these values to constrain their origin. Most of the detections are likely to be either pre-existing dwarf irregular galaxies or short-lived, tidally formed knots; however, one candidate, AGC 208457, is clearly associated with a tidal tail extending below NGC 3166, exhibits a dynamical to gas mass ratio close to unity and has a stellar content and star formation rate that are broadly consistent with both simulated as well as candidate tidal dwarf galaxies from the literature. Our observations therefore strongly suggest that AGC 208457 is a tidal dwarf galaxy.

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Posts: 131433
Date:
NGC 3169 and NGC 3166
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eso1114a.jpg
Credit ESO

The galaxies in this cosmic pairing, captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, display some curious features, demonstrating that each member of the duo is close enough to feel the distorting gravitational influence of the other. The gravitational tug of war has warped the spiral shape of one galaxy, NGC 3169, and fragmented the dust lanes in its companion NGC 3166. Meanwhile, a third, smaller galaxy to the lower right, NGC 3165, has a front-row seat to the gravitational twisting and pulling of its bigger neighbours.
This galactic grouping, found about 70 million light-years away in the constellation Sextans (The Sextant), was discovered by the English astronomer William Herschel in 1783. Modern astronomers have gauged the distance between NGC 3169 (left) and NGC 3166 (right) as a mere 50 000 light-years, a separation that is only about half the diameter of the Milky Way galaxy. In such tight quarters, gravity can start to play havoc with galactic structure.

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