EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 493, Number 3, January III 2009
Page(s) 871 - 892
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200810516
Published online 06 November 2008

A&A 493, 871-892 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200810516

The rotation curves shapes of late-type dwarf galaxies

R. A. Swaters1, 2, R. Sancisi3, 4, T. S. van Albada3, and J. M. van der Hulst3

1  Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles Str., Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
2  Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
3  Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
4  INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy

Received 3 July 2008 / Accepted 25 October 2008

We present rotation curves derived from H I observations for a sample of 62 galaxies that have been observed as part of the Westerbork H I Survey of Spiral and Irregular Galaxies (WHISP) project. These rotation curves have been derived by interactively fitting model data cubes to the observed cubes. This procedure takes the rotation curve shape, the H I distribution, the inclination, and the size of the beam into account, and makes it possible to correct for the effects of beam smearing. A comparison with higher spatial resolution H$\alpha$ rotation curves available in the literature shows that there is general agreement between the two. The late-type dwarf galaxies in our sample have rotation-curve shapes that are similar to those of late-type spiral galaxies, in the sense that their rotation curves, when expressed in units of disk scale lengths, rise as steeply in the inner parts and start to flatten at two disk scale lengths. None of the galaxies in our sample have solid-body rotation curves that extend beyond three disk scale lengths. The logarithmic slopes between two disk scale lengths and the last measured point on the rotation curve is similar between late-type dwarf and spiral galaxies. Thus, whether the flat part of the rotation curve is reached or not seems to depend more on the extent of the rotation curve than on its amplitude. We also find that the outer rotation curve shape does not strongly depend on luminosity, at least for galaxies fainter than MR ~ -19. We find that in spiral galaxies and even in the central regions of late-type dwarf galaxies, the shape of the central distribution of light and the inner rise of the rotation curve are related. This implies that galaxies with stronger central concentrations of light also have higher central mass densities, and it suggests that the luminous mass dominates the gravitational potential in the central regions, even in low surface brightness dwarf galaxies.

Key words: surveys -- galaxies: dwarf -- galaxies: irregular -- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

© ESO 2009

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