Two-dimensional metallicity distribution of the ionized gas in NGC 628 and NGC 6946⋆
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC),
La Laguna, Tenerife
2 Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna (ULL), 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
3 Departamento de Física, Escuela Superior de Física y Matemáticas, IPN, 07738 México D.F., México
4 Herschel Science Centre, INSA/ESAC, 28691 Madrid, Spain
5 Faculty of Education, Wakayama University, 640-8510 Wakayama, Japan
Received: 9 May 2012
Accepted: 3 July 2012
Aims. We present here two H II region catalogues with azimuthal resolution for the two grand design galaxies NGC 628 and NGC 6946. With the help of these catalogues, we study several properties of the star-forming processes occurring in spiral galaxies.
Methods. We obtained direct imaging in the narrow-band filters centred at Hα, Hβ, [O II]λ3727, and [O III]λλ4959, 5007 and their respective continua. After the calibration and correction of the data, we obtained for each H II region the de-reddened fluxes in the aforementioned lines, the size, the Hα equivalent width, and, using two different empirical calibrations, the metallicity. Employing a method based on the Delaunay triangulation, a two-dimensional (2D) representation of the metallicity was obtained.
Results. Data for 209 H II regions of NGC 628 and 226 H II regions of NGC 6946 are obtained. The radial behaviours of the Hα equivalent width, the excitation, and the oxygen abundance are derived. Two-dimensional representations of the metallicity and the excitation are calculated for the galaxies in the study. The two empirical calibrations of the metallicity are compared.
Conclusions. The behaviours of the extinction and the Hα equivalent width are similar to those presented in the literature. The oxygen abundance gradients obtained in this study agree with previously published values. However, more regions were examined than in previous studies. We find a difference of about 0.6 dex between the two empirical calibrations employed. Finally, the 2D representations of the metallicity reveal high metallicity knots in NGC 628, and for NGC 6946 a high metallicity azimuthal structure is discovered. These high metallicity regions seem to be linked to the arms of the galaxies and are probably produced by an increase in the temperature of the ionizing clusters in the H II regions, which may be linked to variations in the initial mass functions of the galaxies between the arm and interarm regions.
Key words: galaxies: spiral / HII regions / galaxies: abundances / galaxies: individual: NGC 628 / galaxies: individual: NGC 6946
Full Tables 4–9 are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012