Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 555, L4-4 (2013/7-1)
Inner rings in disc galaxies: dead or alive.
Abstract (from CDS):
In this Letter, I distinguish ``passive'' inner rings as those with no current star formation as distinct from ``active'' inner rings that have undergone recent star formation. I built a sample of nearby galaxies with inner rings observed in the near- and mid-infrared from the NIRS0S and the S4G surveys. I used archival far-ultraviolet (FUV) and Hα imaging of 319 galaxies to diagnose whether their inner rings are passive or active. I found that passive rings are found only in early-type disc galaxies (-3≤T≤2). In this range of stages, 21±3% and 28±5% of the rings are passive according to the FUV and Hα indicators, respectively. A ring that is passive according to the FUV is always passive according to Hα, but the reverse is not always true. Ring-lenses form 30-40% of passive rings, which is four times more than the fraction of ring-lenses found in active rings in the stage range -3≤T≤2. This is consistent with both a resonance and a manifold origin for the rings because both models predict purely stellar rings to be wider than their star-forming counterparts. In the case of resonance rings, the widening may be at least partly due to the dissolution of rings. If most inner rings have a resonance origin, I estimate 200Myr to be a lower bound for their dissolution time-scale. This time-scale is of the order of one orbital period at the radius of inner rings.