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Model of outgrowths in the spiral galaxies NGC 4921 and NGC 7049 and the origin of spiral arms
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.
2013 (English)In: Astrophysics and Space Science, ISSN 0004-640X, E-ISSN 1572-946X, Vol. 343, no 2, 689-712 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

NGC 4921 and 7049 are two spiral galaxies presenting narrow, distinct dust features. A detailed study of the morphology of those features has been carried out using Hubble Space Telescope archival images. NGC 4921 shows a few but well-defined dust arms midway to its centre while NGC 7049 displays many more dusty features, mainly collected within a ring-shaped formation. Numerous dark and filamentary structures, called outgrowths, are found to protrude from the dusty arms in both galaxies. The outgrowths point both outwards and inwards in the galaxies. Mostly they are found to be V-shaped or Y-shaped with the branches connected to dark arm filaments. Often the stem of the Y appears to consist of intertwined filaments. Remarkably, the outgrowths show considerable similarities to elephant trunks in H ii regions. A model of the outgrowths, based on magnetized filaments, is proposed. The model provides explanations of both the shapes and orientations of the outgrowths. Most important, it can also give an account for their intertwined structures. It is found that the longest outgrowths are confusingly similar to dusty spiral arms. This suggests that some of the outgrowths can develop into such arms. The time-scale of the development is estimated to be on the order of the rotation period of the arms or shorter. Similar processes may also take place in other spiral galaxies. If so, the model of the outgrowths can offer a new approach to the old winding problem of spiral arms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 343, no 2, 689-712 p.
Keyword [en]
Double helix, Elephant trunks, Feathers, H ii regions, Magnetic fields, Mammoth trunks, Molecular clouds, NGC 4921, NGC 7049, Spiral arms, Spurs
National Category
Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-117781DOI: 10.1007/s10509-012-1270-8ISI: 000314892100024ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84871927624OAI: diva2:603092

QC 20130205

Available from: 2013-02-05 Created: 2013-02-05 Last updated: 2013-03-15Bibliographically approved

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