MID-INFRARED GALAXY MORPHOLOGY FROM THE SPITZER SURVEY OF STELLAR STRUCTURE IN GALAXIES (S(4)G): THE IMPRINT OF THE DE VAUCOULEURS REVISED HUBBLE-SANDAGE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM AT 3.6 mu m
Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Array Camera imaging provides an opportunity to study all known morphological types of galaxies in the mid-IR at a depth significantly better than ground-based near-infrared and optical images. The goal of this study is to examine the imprint of the de Vaucouleurs classification volume in the 3.6 mu m band, which is the best Spitzer waveband for galactic stellar mass morphology owing to its depth and its reddening-free sensitivity mainly to older stars. For this purpose, we have prepared classification images for 207 galaxies from the Spitzer archive, most of which are formally part of the Spitzer Survey of Stellar Structure in Galaxies (S(4)G), a Spitzer post-cryogenic ("warm") mission Exploration Science Legacy Program survey of 2331 galaxies closer than 40 Mpc. For the purposes of morphology, the galaxies are interpreted as if the images are blue light, the historical waveband for classical galaxy classification studies. We find that 3.6 mu m classifications are well correlated with blue-light classifications, to the point where the essential features of many galaxies look very similar in the two very different wavelength regimes. Drastic differences are found only for the most dusty galaxies. Consistent with a previous study by Eskridge et al., the main difference between blue-light and mid-IR types is an approximate to 1 stage interval difference for S0/a to Sbc or Sc galaxies, which tend to appear "earlier" in type at 3.6 mu m due to the slightly increased prominence of the bulge, the reduced effects of extinction, and the reduced (but not completely eliminated) effect of the extreme population I stellar component. We present an atlas of all of the 207 galaxies analyzed here and bring attention to special features or galaxy types, such as nuclear rings, pseudobulges, flocculent spiral galaxies, I0 galaxies, double-stage and double-variety galaxies, and outer rings, that are particularly distinctive in the mid-IR.