Chemical evidence for morphological evolution of spiral galaxies.
DUTIL Y. and ROY J.-R.
Abstract (from CDS):
Using the methods of spectrophotometric imagery and multislit spectroscopy, we have derived the radial abundance profiles from O/H measurements in 549 H II regions of eight early-type spiral galaxies. We then compared the characteristic abundance levels and radial distributions of this group of spirals with those of late-type galaxies. The early-type galaxies of our sample display gradients that are flatter and overall levels of O/H abundances that are higher than those of normal late-type galaxies. Early-type galaxies show an identical trend in the behavior of extrapolated central abundance versus morphological type to that shown by late-type galaxies with strong bars, even in the absence of a bar. On a diagram showing extrapolated central abundances versus morphological types, two clearly separated sequences appear: late-type barred galaxies and early-type (barred or unbarred) galaxies clearly fall on a sequence ∼0.5 dex in abundance below that of normal late-type galaxies. This behavior is consistent with a scenario of morphological evolution of disk galaxies by the formation and dissolution of a bar over a period of a few 109 yr, where later type galaxies (Sd, Sc, Sbc) evolve into earlier-type disk galaxies (Sb, Sa) through transitory SBc and SBb phases.