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Efficient Star-Formation in the Tidal Arms of the Stephan's Quintet Group of Galaxies

  • Y. Ohyama (a1), S. Nishiura (a1), T. Murayama (a1) and Y. Taniguchi (a1)

Extract

NGC 7318B in Stephan's Quintet has two optical arms (toward N and S) emanating from the eastern part of the main body. Since these arms are similar morphologically to the tidal tails of merging galaxies such as NGC 4038/9, it is considered that NGC 7318B itself is a major merger with a retrograde orbit. In order to study the emission-line activity in the tidal arms of NGC 7318B, we took CCD narrow-band (Hα ON and OFF) images and then found a large-scale arc in Hα emission which traces closely the arms. This Hα arc resembles both the radio and the soft X-ray arcs morphologically (van der Hulst & Rots 1981; Pietsch et al. 1997), suggesting that a single physical mechanism is responsible for all of these kinds of emission. Our optical spectroscopic observations of the shell-like feature at the southern tip of the arc reveal both broad Hα emission and stronger-than-normal [NII] and [SII] emission lines, which are typical of supernova remnants (SNRs). The required number of SNRs is estimated to be as much as ~ 106.

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References

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Barnes, J. E., & Hernquist, L. 1992, Nature, 360, 715
Ohyama, Y., Nishiura, S., Murayama, T., & Taniguchi, Y. 1997, ApJL, in press
Pietsch, W., Trinchieri, G., Arp, H., & Sulentic, J. W. 1997, A&A, 322, 89
van der Hulst, J. M., & Rots, A. H. 1981, A3, 86, 1775

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