EDP Sciences
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Volume 376, Number 1, September II 2001
Page(s) 43 - 50
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010905

A&A 376, 43-50 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010905

Spectral analysis of the nuclear stellar population and gas emission in six nearby galaxies

M. F. Saraiva, E. Bica, M. G. Pastoriza and C. Bonatto

Departamento de Astronomia, Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500 -CP 15051, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS -Brazil

(Received 22 February 2001 / Accepted 1 June 2001 )

Optical spectra were used to study the stellar population and gas emission, when present, in the central parts of the elliptical galaxies NGC6958, NGC6851 and ESO185-G54, and the spiral galaxies NGC5757, NGC7412 and IC4214. Stellar population properties were derived by comparing the equivalent widths of the absorption lines with those of galaxy templates built from star clusters, as well as by applying a method of stellar population synthesis based on the same star clusters. For the galaxies with emission lines, the underlying stellar population was subtracted to obtain the pure emission spectrum, and the resulting emission line intensities were measured to determine the mechanism responsible for the gas excitation. From this analysis we concluded that the galaxies have solar metallicity except the elliptical ESO185-G54 that reached metallicity slightly above solar. The three ellipticals and the Sa galaxy IC4214 have their nuclei dominated by old stellar populations, although IC4214 appears to have some contribution from the young generation stars. Recent star formation (t < 500 Myr) is prominent in the nucleus of the SBb galaxy NGC5757, and is also present to a lesser degree in the Sbc NGC7412. In these two galaxies, the recent star formation is responsible for the observed HII type emission lines, while IC4214 has LINER emission. Among the ellipticals, only in NGC6958 did we detect ionized gas, whose spectra is typical of LINERs.

Key words: galaxies: elliptical and lenticular -- galaxies: spiral -- galaxies: ISM -- galaxies: nuclei -- galaxies: stellar content

Offprint request: M. F. Saraiva, fatima@if.ufrgs.br

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