Volume 375, Number 3, September 2001
|Page(s)||797 - 804|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 September 2001|
Molecular gas and dust in NGC 4550
A galaxy with two counterrotating stellar disks
Onsala Space Observatory, 43992 Onsala, Sweden
2 Max-Planck-Institute für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 59, 53121 Bonn, Germany
Corresponding author: T. Wiklind, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 12 June 2001
We report the detection of of molecular gas in the central region of the S0/E7 galaxy NGC 4550, inferred from observations of CO(1-0) emission. Dust is detected in HST WFPC2 images and found to be asymmetrically distributed around the nucleus, only extending to a galactocentric distance of 7'' (600 pc). The shape of the CO emission profile is consistent with a molecular gas distribution following the dust. The distribution of the dust and gas in the center could be the result of an instability, which is the fastest growing unstable mode in counterrotating stellar disks. On a global scale the molecular gas in NGC 4550 is stable against gravitational collapse but nevertheless star formation appears to be ongoing with normal star formation efficiency and gas consumption time scales. The stellar velocity dispersion in NGC 4550 resembles that of elliptical galaxies. It is therefore likely that a hot X-ray emitting plasma limits the lifetime of the molecular gas, that must arise from a recent (≪1 Gyr) accretion event.
Key words: ISM: dust, extinction / ISM: molecules / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / galaxies: individual: NGC 4550 / galaxies: structure
© ESO, 2001
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