Vol 20, No 2

Co-evolution of nuclear rings, bars and the central intensity ratio of their host galaxies

S. Aswathy, C. D. Ravikumar


Abstract Using a sample of 13 early-type spiral galaxies hosting nuclear rings, we report remarkable correlations between the properties of the nuclear rings and the central intensity ratio (CIR) of their host galaxies. The CIR, a function of intensity of light within the central 1.5 and 3 arcsec region, is found to be a vital parameter in galaxy evolution, as it shares strong correlations with many structural and dynamical properties of early-type galaxies, including mass of the central supermassive black hole (SMBH). We use archival HST images for aperture photometry at the centre of the galaxy image to compute the CIR. We observe that the relative sizes of nuclear rings and ring cluster surface densities strongly correlate with the CIR. These correlations suggest reduced star formation in the centres of galaxies hosting small and dense nuclear rings. This scenario appears to be a consequence of strong bars as advocated by the significant connection observed between the CIR and bar strengths. In addition, we observe that the CIR is closely related with the integrated properties of the stellar population in the nuclear rings, associating the rings hosting older and less massive star clusters with low values of CIR. Thus, the CIR can serve as a crucial parameter in unfolding the coupled evolution of bars and rings as it is intimately connected with both their properties.


Keywords galaxies: evolution — galaxies: formation — galaxies: photometry — galaxies: spiral — galaxies: starburst

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