Nuclear properties of nearby spiral galaxies from nubble Space Telescope NICMOS imaging and STIS spectroscopy

M. A. Hughes, D. Axon, J. Atkinson, A. Alonso-Herrero, C. Scarlata, A. Marconi, D. Batcheldor, J. Binney, A. Capetti, C. M. Carollo, L. Dressel, J. Gerssen, D. Macchetto, W. Maciejewski, M. Merrifield, M. Ruiz, W. Sparks, M. Stiavelli, Zlatan Tsvetanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We investigate the central regions of 23 spiral galaxies using Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) spectroscopy and archival Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) imaging. The sample is taken from our program to determine the masses of central massive black holes (MBHs) in 54 nearby spiral galaxies. Stars are likely to contribute significantly to any dynamical central mass concentration that we find in our MBH program, and this paper is part of a series to investigate the nuclear properties of these galaxies. We use the Nuker law to fit surface brightness profiles, derived from the NICMOS images, to look for nuclear star clusters and find possible extended sources in three of the 23 galaxies studied (13%). The fact that this fraction is lower than that inferred from optical Bubble Space Telescope studies is probably due to the greater spatial resolution of those studies. Using R - H and J - H colors and equivalent widths of Hα emission (from the STIS spectra), we investigate the nature of the stellar population with evolutionary models. Under the assumption of hot stars ionizing the gas, as opposed to a weak active galactic nucleus (AGN), we find that there are young stellar populations (∼ 10-20 Myr); however, these data do not allow us to determine what percentage of the total nuclear stellar population they form. In addition, in an attempt to find any unknown AGN, we use [N II] and [S II] line flux ratios (relative to Hα) and find tentative evidence for weak AGNs in NGC 1300 and NGC 4536.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume130
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

imaging spectrometers
spiral galaxies
spectrographs
near infrared
spectrometer
spectroscopy
cameras
telescopes
active galactic nuclei
galaxies
hot stars
young population
star clusters
bubble
brightness
spatial resolution
bubbles
spectrometers
color
stars

Keywords

  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Galaxies: photometry
  • Galaxies: stellar content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Nuclear properties of nearby spiral galaxies from nubble Space Telescope NICMOS imaging and STIS spectroscopy. / Hughes, M. A.; Axon, D.; Atkinson, J.; Alonso-Herrero, A.; Scarlata, C.; Marconi, A.; Batcheldor, D.; Binney, J.; Capetti, A.; Carollo, C. M.; Dressel, L.; Gerssen, J.; Macchetto, D.; Maciejewski, W.; Merrifield, M.; Ruiz, M.; Sparks, W.; Stiavelli, M.; Tsvetanov, Zlatan.

In: Astronomical Journal, Vol. 130, No. 1, 07.2005, p. 73-83.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hughes, MA, Axon, D, Atkinson, J, Alonso-Herrero, A, Scarlata, C, Marconi, A, Batcheldor, D, Binney, J, Capetti, A, Carollo, CM, Dressel, L, Gerssen, J, Macchetto, D, Maciejewski, W, Merrifield, M, Ruiz, M, Sparks, W, Stiavelli, M & Tsvetanov, Z 2005, 'Nuclear properties of nearby spiral galaxies from nubble Space Telescope NICMOS imaging and STIS spectroscopy', Astronomical Journal, vol. 130, no. 1, pp. 73-83. https://doi.org/10.1086/430531
Hughes, M. A. ; Axon, D. ; Atkinson, J. ; Alonso-Herrero, A. ; Scarlata, C. ; Marconi, A. ; Batcheldor, D. ; Binney, J. ; Capetti, A. ; Carollo, C. M. ; Dressel, L. ; Gerssen, J. ; Macchetto, D. ; Maciejewski, W. ; Merrifield, M. ; Ruiz, M. ; Sparks, W. ; Stiavelli, M. ; Tsvetanov, Zlatan. / Nuclear properties of nearby spiral galaxies from nubble Space Telescope NICMOS imaging and STIS spectroscopy. In: Astronomical Journal. 2005 ; Vol. 130, No. 1. pp. 73-83.
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abstract = "We investigate the central regions of 23 spiral galaxies using Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) spectroscopy and archival Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) imaging. The sample is taken from our program to determine the masses of central massive black holes (MBHs) in 54 nearby spiral galaxies. Stars are likely to contribute significantly to any dynamical central mass concentration that we find in our MBH program, and this paper is part of a series to investigate the nuclear properties of these galaxies. We use the Nuker law to fit surface brightness profiles, derived from the NICMOS images, to look for nuclear star clusters and find possible extended sources in three of the 23 galaxies studied (13{\%}). The fact that this fraction is lower than that inferred from optical Bubble Space Telescope studies is probably due to the greater spatial resolution of those studies. Using R - H and J - H colors and equivalent widths of Hα emission (from the STIS spectra), we investigate the nature of the stellar population with evolutionary models. Under the assumption of hot stars ionizing the gas, as opposed to a weak active galactic nucleus (AGN), we find that there are young stellar populations (∼ 10-20 Myr); however, these data do not allow us to determine what percentage of the total nuclear stellar population they form. In addition, in an attempt to find any unknown AGN, we use [N II] and [S II] line flux ratios (relative to Hα) and find tentative evidence for weak AGNs in NGC 1300 and NGC 4536.",
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AU - Hughes, M. A.

AU - Axon, D.

AU - Atkinson, J.

AU - Alonso-Herrero, A.

AU - Scarlata, C.

AU - Marconi, A.

AU - Batcheldor, D.

AU - Binney, J.

AU - Capetti, A.

AU - Carollo, C. M.

AU - Dressel, L.

AU - Gerssen, J.

AU - Macchetto, D.

AU - Maciejewski, W.

AU - Merrifield, M.

AU - Ruiz, M.

AU - Sparks, W.

AU - Stiavelli, M.

AU - Tsvetanov, Zlatan

PY - 2005/7

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N2 - We investigate the central regions of 23 spiral galaxies using Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) spectroscopy and archival Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) imaging. The sample is taken from our program to determine the masses of central massive black holes (MBHs) in 54 nearby spiral galaxies. Stars are likely to contribute significantly to any dynamical central mass concentration that we find in our MBH program, and this paper is part of a series to investigate the nuclear properties of these galaxies. We use the Nuker law to fit surface brightness profiles, derived from the NICMOS images, to look for nuclear star clusters and find possible extended sources in three of the 23 galaxies studied (13%). The fact that this fraction is lower than that inferred from optical Bubble Space Telescope studies is probably due to the greater spatial resolution of those studies. Using R - H and J - H colors and equivalent widths of Hα emission (from the STIS spectra), we investigate the nature of the stellar population with evolutionary models. Under the assumption of hot stars ionizing the gas, as opposed to a weak active galactic nucleus (AGN), we find that there are young stellar populations (∼ 10-20 Myr); however, these data do not allow us to determine what percentage of the total nuclear stellar population they form. In addition, in an attempt to find any unknown AGN, we use [N II] and [S II] line flux ratios (relative to Hα) and find tentative evidence for weak AGNs in NGC 1300 and NGC 4536.

AB - We investigate the central regions of 23 spiral galaxies using Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) spectroscopy and archival Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) imaging. The sample is taken from our program to determine the masses of central massive black holes (MBHs) in 54 nearby spiral galaxies. Stars are likely to contribute significantly to any dynamical central mass concentration that we find in our MBH program, and this paper is part of a series to investigate the nuclear properties of these galaxies. We use the Nuker law to fit surface brightness profiles, derived from the NICMOS images, to look for nuclear star clusters and find possible extended sources in three of the 23 galaxies studied (13%). The fact that this fraction is lower than that inferred from optical Bubble Space Telescope studies is probably due to the greater spatial resolution of those studies. Using R - H and J - H colors and equivalent widths of Hα emission (from the STIS spectra), we investigate the nature of the stellar population with evolutionary models. Under the assumption of hot stars ionizing the gas, as opposed to a weak active galactic nucleus (AGN), we find that there are young stellar populations (∼ 10-20 Myr); however, these data do not allow us to determine what percentage of the total nuclear stellar population they form. In addition, in an attempt to find any unknown AGN, we use [N II] and [S II] line flux ratios (relative to Hα) and find tentative evidence for weak AGNs in NGC 1300 and NGC 4536.

KW - Galaxies: nuclei

KW - Galaxies: photometry

KW - Galaxies: stellar content

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