Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Padova, vicolo dell'Osservatorio 2, 35122 Padova, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Instituto Astrofísico de Canarias, Calle Vía Láctea s/n, 38200 La Laguna, Spain
Accepted: 21 April 2004
Ionized gas and stellar kinematics have been measured along the major axes of seventeen nearby spiral galaxies of intermediate to late morphological type. We discuss the properties of each sample galaxy, distinguishing between those characterized by regular or peculiar kinematics. In most of the observed galaxies, ionized gas rotates more rapidly than stars and has a lower velocity dispersion, as is to be expected if the gas is confined in the disc and supported by rotation while the stars are mostly supported by dynamical pressure. In a few objects, gas and stars show almost the same rotational velocity and low velocity dispersion, suggesting that their motion is dominated by rotation. Incorporating the spiral galaxies studied by Bertola et al. ([CITE]), Corsini et al. ([CITE], [CITE]) and Vega Beltrán et al. ([CITE]) we have compiled a sample of 50 S0/a-Scd galaxies, for which the major-axis kinematics of the ionized gas and stars have been obtained with the same spatial (≈) and spectral (≈50 ) resolution, and measured with the same analysis techniques. This allowed us to address the frequency of counter-rotation in spiral galaxies. It turns out that less than and less than (at the confidence level) of the sample galaxies host a counter-rotating gaseous and stellar disc, respectively. The comparison with S0 galaxies suggests that the retrograde acquisition of small amounts of external gas gives rise to counter-rotating gaseous discs only in gas-poor S0s, while in gas-rich spirals the newly acquired gas is swept away by the pre-existing gas. Counter-rotating gaseous and stellar discs in spirals are formed only from the retrograde acquisition of large amounts of gas exceeding that of pre-existing gas, and subsequent star formation, respectively.
Key words: galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / galaxies: spiral / galaxies: structure
Based on observations carried out at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla (Chile) (ESO 56.A-0684 and 57.A-0569).
Tables 3 and 4 are only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/424/447
© ESO, 2004