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The Triangulum Spiral Galaxy Messier 33 offers unique insights into the building of a galactic disk. We identify spectacular arcs of intermediate age (0.6 Gyr − 2 Gyr) stars in the low-metallicity outer disk. The northern arc spans ~120 degrees in azimuth and up to 5 arcmin in width. The arcs are located 2-3 disk scale lengths from the galaxy centre (where 1 disk scale length is equivalent to 0.1 degrees in the V-band) and lie precisely where there is a warp in the HI profile of M33. Warps and infall are inextricably linked (Binney, 1992). We present spectroscopy of candidate stars in the outer northern arc, secured using the Keck I telescope in Hawaii. The target stars have estimated visual magnitudes as faint as V~ 25m. Absorption bands of CN are seen in all spectra reported in this review talk, confirming their carbon star status. Also presented are PAH emissivity radial profiles generated from IRAC observations of M33 using the Spitzer Space Telescope. A dramatic change of phase in the m = 2 Fourier component is detected at the domain of the arcs. M33 serves as an excellent example how the disks of spiral galaxies in our Universe are built: as dynamically open systems, growing from the inward, outward.
Over the past ten years a technological revolution has occurred in the development of two-dimensional infrared array detectors for astronomical observations. The wide application of these arrays for both ground-based and space observations has resulted in a profound change in the capabilities and perspective for infrared astronomy, resulting in new views of the infrared sky. A review will be presented describing these detectors, the numerous advantages they provide for astronomical observations, the present state of array technology, and the potential for future growth.
The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) is a one-meter class observatory for infrared astronomy that will be launched into high earth orbit by NASA in the late 1990’s. SIRTF’s three focal plane instruments will permit imaging and spectroscopy over most of the infrared spectrum with sensitivities of 100 to 10,000 times their predecessors. This paper briefly reviews SIRTF’s capabilities, science objectives, and current status.
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