EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 431, Number 2, February IV 2005
Page(s) 503 - 510
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041756

A&A 431, 503-510 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041756

Galaxy transmutations: The double ringed galaxy ESO 474-G26

V. Reshetnikov1, 2, 3, F. Bournaud2, F. Combes2, M. Faúndez-Abans4, M. de Oliveira-Abans4, W. van Driel5 and S. E. Schneider6

1  Astronomical Institute of St. Petersburg State University, 198504 St. Petersburg, Russia
    e-mail: resh@astro.spbu.ru
2  Observatoire de Paris, LERMA, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
    e-mail: frederic.bournaud@obspm.fr
3  Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, St. Petersburg Branch, Russia
4  MCT/Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica, Caixa Postal 21, CEP:37.504-364, Itajubá, MG, Brasil
5  Observatoire de Paris, Section de Meudon, GEPI, 5 pl. Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
6  University of Massachusetts, Astronomy Program, 536 LGRC, Amherst, MA 01003, USA

(Received 29 July 2004 / Accepted 22 November 2004)

Surface photometry and a 21 cm H I line spectrum of the giant double-ringed galaxy ESO 474-G26 are presented. The morphology of this system is unique among the 30 000 galaxies with $B\leq$15 $\fm$5. Two almost orthogonal optical rings with diameters of 60 and 40 kpc surround the central body (assuming H0=70 km s -1 Mpc -1). The outer one is an equatorial ring, while the inner ring lies in a nearly polar plane. The rings have blue optical colors typical of late-type spirals. Both appear to be rotating around the central galaxy, so that this system can be considered as a kinematically confirmed polar ring galaxy. Its observational characteristics are typical of galaxy merger remnants. Although the central object has a surface brightness distribution typical of elliptical galaxies, it has a higher surface brightness for its effective radius than ordinary ellipticals. Possible origins of this galaxy are discussed and numerical simulations are presented that illustrate the formation of the two rings in the merging process of two spiral galaxies, in which the observed appearance of ESO 474-G26 appears to be a transient stage.

Key words: galaxies: individual: ESO 474-G26 -- galaxies: photometry -- galaxies: formation -- galaxies: structure

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© ESO 2005