Ultraviolet signposts of resonant dynamics in the starburst-ringed Sab galaxy M94 (NGC 4736)


The dynamic orchestration of star-birth activity in the starburst-ringed galaxy M94 (NGC 4736) is investigated using images from the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT; far-ultraviolet [FUV] band), Hubble Space Telescope (HST; near-ultraviolet [NUV] band), Kitt Peak 0.9 m telescope (H alpha, R, and I bands), and Palomar 5 m telescope (B band), along with spectra from the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) and the Lick 1 m telescope. The wide-field UIT image shows FUV emission from (1) an elongated nucleus, (2) a diffuse inner disk, where H alpha is observed in absorption, (3) a bright inner ring of H II regions at the perimeter of the inner disk (R = 48 " = 1.1 kpc), and (4) two 500 pc size knots of hot stars exterior to the ring on diametrically opposite sides of the nucleus (R = 130 " = 2.9 kpc). The HST Faint Object Camera image resolves the NUV emission from the nuclear region into a bright core and a faint 20 " long "minibar" at a position angle of 30 degrees. Optical and IUE spectroscopy of the nucleus and diffuse inner disk indicates a similar to 10(7)-10(8) yr old stellar population from low-level star-birth activity blended with some LINER activity. Analysis of the H alpha-, FUV-, NUV-, B-, R-, and I-band emissions, along with other observed tracers of stars and gas in M94, indicates that most of the star formation is being orchestrated via ring-bar dynamics, involving the nuclear minibar, inner ring, oval disk, and outer ring. The inner starburst ring and bisymmetric knots at intermediate radius, in particular, argue for bar-mediated resonances as the primary drivers of evolution in M94 at the present epoch. Similar processes may be governing the evolution of the "core-dominated" galaxies that have been observed at high red-shift. The gravitationally lensed "Pretzel Galaxy" (0024+1654) at a redshift of similar to1.5 provides an important precedent in this regard.

galaxies : evolution, galaxies : individual (M94, NGC 4736), galaxies : kinematics and dynamics, galaxies : photometry, galaxies : spiral, ultraviolet emission, H-II REGIONS, NGC 4736, IMAGING TELESCOPE, STAR-FORMATION, SPIRAL GALAXIES, NUCLEAR REGIONS, NEARBY GALAXIES, GALACTIC NUCLEI, EXPANDING RING, VELOCITY-FIELD, Astronomy & Astrophysics
Waller, William., et al. (2001): Ultraviolet Signposts of Resonant Dynamics in the Starbursts-Ringed Sab Galaxy M94 (NGC 4736). The Astronomical Journal, 121(3). DOI: 10.1086/319384