Spiral structure based limits in the disk mass of the low surface brightness galaxies UGC 6614 and F568-6

A. C. Quillen, T. E. Pickering

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11 Scopus citations


The spiral structure of the low surface brightness galaxies F568-6 (Malin 2) and UGC 6614 is large scale, with arms that wrap more than half a revolution, and extend out to 50 and 80 kpc in UGC 6614 and F568-6, respectively. The density contrasts observed in the H I maps are high, with arm/interarm contrasts of ∼2:1, whereas the velocity perturbations due to spiral structure are low, in the range 10-20 km/s and 10-30 km/s in UGC 6614 and F568-6, respectively. Upper limits for the disk mass-to-light ratios are estimated by considering the minimum velocity perturbations in the H I velocity field that should result from the spiral structure observed in the R band images. The weak observed response in the φ velocity component limits the mass-to-light ratios of the disk inside a scale length to , script M signM/L≲3 and 6 for UGC 6614 for F568-6, respectively (in solar units), based upon azimuthal variations observed in the R band images. These limits are sufficiently strong to require a significant dark matter component even in the central regions of these galaxies. Our limits furthermore imply that this dark matter component cannot be in the form of a cold disk since a cold disk would necessarily be involved in the spiral structure. However, a more massive disk could be consistent with the observations because of a non-linear gas response or if the gas is driven by bar-like distortions instead of spira structure. To produce the large observed arm/interarm H I density variations it is likely that the spiral arm potential perturbation is sufficiently strong to produce shocks in the gas. For a forcing that is greater than 2% of the axisymmetric force,. script M sign/L≲1 is required in both galaxies in the outer regions. This is equivalent to a disk surface density between r=60″-120″ in UGC 6614 of 2.6-1.0 . script M sign⊙/pc2 and between r=40″-90″ in F568-6 of 6.6-1.0 . script M sign⊙/pc2 assuming that the amplitude of the variations in the disk mass is the same as that observed in the R band. These lower limits imply that the stellar surface density is at least of the same order as the gas surface density. This is consistent with the large scale morphology of the spiral structure, and the stability of the gas disk, both which suggest that a moderate stellar component is required to produce the observed spiral structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2075-2086
Number of pages12
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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