Volume 372, Number 2, June III 2001
|Page(s)||406 - 426|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 June 2001|
The impact of bars on the mid-infrared dust emission of spiral galaxies: global and circumnuclear properties*
DAPNIA/Service d'Astrophysique, CEA/Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
2 Observatoire de Marseille, 2 place Le Verrier, 13248 Marseille Cedex 4, France
3 Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, 5 Vicolo dell'Osservatorio, 35122 Padova, Italy
4 Joint Astronomy Center, 660 N. A'ohoku Place, Hilo, Hawaii 96720, USA
Corresponding author: H. Roussel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 22 March 2001
We study the mid-infrared properties of a sample of 69 nearby spiral galaxies, selected to avoid Seyfert activity contributing a significant fraction of the central energetics, or strong tidal interaction, and to have normal infrared luminosities. These observations were obtained with ISOCAM, which provides an angular resolution of the order of (half-power diameter of the point spread function) and low-resolution spectro-imaging information. Between 5 and 18 μm, we mainly observe two dust phases, aromatic infrared bands and very small grains, both out of thermal equilibrium. On this sample, we show that the global colors of galaxies are very uniform, the only increase being found in early-type strongly barred galaxies, consistent with previous IRAS studies. The excesses are unambiguously due to galactic central regions where bar-induced starbursts occur. However, the existence of strongly barred early-type galaxies with normal circumnuclear colors indicates that the relationship between a distortion of the gravitational potential and a central starburst is not straightforward. As the physical processes at work in central regions are in principle identical in barred and unbarred galaxies, and since this is where the mid-infrared activity is mainly located, we investigate the mid-infrared circumnuclear properties of all the galaxies in our sample. We show how surface brightnesses and colors are related to both the available molecular gas content and the mean age of stellar populations contributing to dust heating. Therefore, the star formation history in galactic central regions can be constrained by their position in a color-surface brightness mid-infrared diagram.
Key words: galaxies: spiral / galaxies: ISM / stars: formation / infrared: ISM: continuum / ISM: lines and bands
© ESO, 2001
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