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Tidal Remnants and Intergalactic H II Regions

  • Tom Oosterloo (a1), Raffaella Morganti (a1), Elaine M. Sadler (a2), Annette Ferguson (a3), Thijs van der Hulst (a4) and Helmut Jerjen (a5)...

Abstract

We report the discovery of two small intergalactic H II regions in the loose group of galaxies around the field elliptical NGC 1490. The H II regions are located at least 100 kpc from any optical galaxy but are associated with a number of large H I clouds that are lying along an arc 500 kpc in length and that have no optical counterpart on the Digital Sky Survey. The sum of the H I masses of the clouds is almost 1010 M and the largest H I cloud is about 100 kpc in size. Deep optical imaging reveals a very low surface brightness counterpart to this largest H I cloud, making this one of the H I richest optical galaxies known (M HI/L V ~ 200). Spectroscopy of the H II regions indicates that the abundance in these H II regions is only slightly sub-solar, excluding a primordial origin of the H I clouds. The H I clouds are perhaps remnants resulting from the tidal disruption of a reasonably sized galaxy, probably quite some time ago, by the loose group to which NGC 1490 belongs. Alternatively, they are remnants of the merger that created the field elliptical NGC 1490. The isolated H II regions show that star formation on a very small scale can occur in intergalactic space in gas drawn from galaxies by tidal interactions. Many such intergalactic small star formation regions may exist near tidally interacting galaxies.

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Copyright

References

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Barnes, D.G., et al. 2001, MNRAS 322, 486.
Ryan-Weber, E., Webster, R., & Bekki, K. 2003, ASSL Conf. Proc.281, p223.
Sadler, E.M., Oosterloo, T., Morganti, R., 2002 in The Dynamics, Structure & History of Galaxies, Eds. Da Costa, G.S. and Jerjen, Helmut, ASP Conference Proceedings, Vol. 273, p.215.
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