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2010MNRAS.401..559M - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 401, 559-576 (2010/January-1)

2MASS photometry of edge-on spiral galaxies - I. Sample and general results.


Abstract (from CDS):

A sample of edge-on spiral galaxies aimed at a thorough study of the main structural and photometric parameters of edge-on galaxies, both of early- and late-types, is presented. The data were taken from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) in the J, H and Ksfilters. The sources were selected according to their angular size mainly on the basis of the 2MASS-selected Flat Galaxy Catalog (2MFGC). The sample consists of 175 galaxies in the Ksfilter, 169 galaxies in the H filter and 165 galaxies in the J filter. We present bulge and disc decompositions of each galaxy image. All galaxies have been modelled with a Sérsic bulge and exponential disc with the budda v2.1 package. Bulge and disc sizes, profile shapes, surface brightnesses are provided. Our sample is the biggest up-to-date sample of edge-on galaxies with derived structural parameters for discs and bulges. In this paper, we present the general results of the study of this sample. We determine several scaling relations for bulges and discs which indicate a tight link between their formation and evolution. We show that galaxies with bulges fitted by the Sérsic index n ≲ 2 have quite different distributions of their structural parameters than galaxies with n ≳ 2 bulges. At a first approximation the Sérsic index threshold n ≃ 2 can be used to identify pseudobulges and classical bulges. Thus, the difference in parameter distributions and scaling relations for these subsamples suggests that two or more processes are responsible for disc galaxy formation. The main conclusions of our general statistical analysis of the sample are as follows.

(i) The distribution of the apparent bulge axis ratio qb for the subsample with n ≲ 2 can be attributed to triaxial, nearly prolate bulges that are seen from different projections, while n ≳ 2 bulges seem to be oblate spheroids with moderate flattening. Triaxiality of late-type bulges may be due to the presence of a bar that thickened in the vertical direction during its secular evolution.

(ii) For the sample galaxies, the effective radius of the bulge re,b, the disc scalelength h and the disc scaleheight z0 are well correlated. However, there is a clear trend for the ratio re,b/h to increase with n. As n is an indicator of the Hubble type, such a trend unambiguously rules out the widely discussed hypothesis of a scale-free Hubble sequence. The found correlation between z0 and re,bis new and was not described earlier.

(iii) There is a hint that the fundamental planes of discs, which links only disc parameters and the maximum rotational velocity of gas, are different for galaxies with different bulges. This may indicate a real difference of discs in galaxies with low- and high-concentration bulges.

(iv) The most surprising result arises from the investigation of the photometric plane of sample bulges. It turns that the plane is not flat and has a prominent curvature towards small values of n. For bulges, this fact was not noted earlier.

(v) The clear relation between the flattening of stellar discs h/z0 and the relative mass of a spherical component, including a dark halo, is confirmed not for bulgeless galaxies but for galaxies with massive bulges.

Many of our results are in good agreement with the results of other authors, several ones are new. Thus, our sample is very useful for further detailed studying and modelling of the edge-on spiral galaxies.

Abstract Copyright: © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 RAS

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: fundamental parameters - galaxies: general - galaxies: photometry - galaxies: spiral - infrared: galaxies

Simbad objects: 176

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