Volume 530, June 2011
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Published online||03 May 2011|
Lopsidedness in WHISP galaxies
I. Rotation curves and kinematic lopsidedness⋆
Fakultät für Physik, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstr. 1, 47048 Duisburg, Germany
2 Astronomisches Institut der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany
3 Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, 560012 Bangalore, India
Received: 22 November 2010
Accepted: 19 March 2011
The frequently observed lopsidedness of the distribution of stars and gas in disc galaxies is still considered as a major problem in galaxy dynamics. It is even discussed as an imprint of the formation history of discs and the evolution of baryons in dark matter haloes. Here, we analyse a selected sample of 70 galaxies from the Westerbork H i Survey of Spiral and Irregular Galaxies. The H i data allow us to follow the morphology and the kinematics out to very large radii. In the present paper, we present the rotation curves and study the kinematic asymmetry. We extract the rotation curves of the receding and approaching sides separately and show that the kinematic behaviour of disc galaxies can be classified into five different types: symmetric velocity fields where the rotation curves of the receding and approaching sides are almost identical; global distortions where the rotation velocities of the receding and approaching sides have an offset that is constant with radius; local distortions leading to large deviations in the inner and negligible deviations in the outer parts (and vice versa); and distortions that divide the galaxies into two kinematic systems that are visible in terms of the different behaviour of the rotation curves of the receding and approaching sides, which leads to a crossing and a change in side. The kinematic lopsidedness is measured from the maximum rotation velocities, averaged over the plateau of the rotation curves. This gives a good estimate of the global lopsidedness in the outer parts of the sample galaxies. We find that the mean value of the perturbation parameter denoting the lopsided potential as obtained from the kinematic data is 0.056. Altogether, 36% of the sample galaxies are globally lopsided, which can be interpreted as the disc responding to a halo that was distorted by a tidal encounter. In Paper II, we study the morphological lopsidedness of the same sample of galaxies.
Key words: surveys / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / galaxies: structure
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2011
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