Volume 658, February 2022
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Published online||15 February 2022|
Star formation in outer rings of S0 galaxies
IV. NGC 254: A double-ringed S0 with gas counter-rotation
New York University Abu Dhabi, PO Box 129188 Abu Dhabi, UAE
2 Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics, NYU Abu Dhabi, PO Box 129188 Abu Dhabi, UAE
3 Sternberg Astronomical Institute, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Universitetskiy Pr., 13, Moscow 119992, Russia
4 South African Astronomical Observatory, PO Box 9 Observatory, Cape Town 7935, South Africa
5 Southern African Large Telescope, PO Box 9 Observatory, Cape Town 7935, South Africa
6 Faculty of Physics, Moscow M.V. Lomonosov State University, 1 Leninskie Gory, Moscow 119991, Russia
Accepted: 6 December 2021
Aims. Although S0 galaxies are usually considered “red and dead”, they often demonstrate star formation organized into ring structures. We aim to clarify the nature of this phenomenon and how it differs from star formation in spiral galaxies.
Methods. We investigated the nearby, moderate-luminosity S0 galaxy NGC 254 using long-slit spectroscopy taken with the South African Large Telescope and publicly available imaging data. Applying a full spectral fitting, we analyzed gaseous and stellar kinematics as well as ionized gas excitation and metallicity and stellar population properties resolved by radius. An advanced approach of simultaneously fitting spectra and photometric data allowed us to quantify the fraction of hidden counter-rotating stars in this galaxy.
Results. We find that the ionized gas is counter-rotating with respect to the stars throughout NGC 254 disk, indicating an external origin of the gas. We argue the gas-rich galaxy merger from retrograde orbit as a main source of counter-rotating material. The star formation fed by this counter-rotating gas occurs within two rings: an outer ring at R = 55″ − 70″ and an inner ring at R = 18″. The star formation rate is weak, 0.02 solar mass per year in total, and the gas metallicity is slightly subsolar. We estimated that the accretion of the gas occurred about 1 Gyr ago, and about 1% of all stars have formed in situ from counter-rotating gas.
Key words: galaxies: structure / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / galaxies: star formation
© ESO 2022
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