Letter to the Editor
Spiral-like light profiles but elliptical-like kinematics in mergers of galaxies
Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com
Corresponding author: C. J. Jog, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 27 August 2002
It is commonly accepted that a merger of two spiral galaxies results in a remnant with an elliptical-like surface-brightness profile. Surprisingly, our recent study (Chitre & Jog [CITE]) of the 2MASS data for twenty-seven advanced mergers of galaxies has shown that half of these have a light distribution that decreases exponentially with radius. Such a distribution normally characterizes a rotationally supported disk in a spiral galaxy. Here we show from kinematic data for two of these mergers, Arp 224 and Arp 214, that the main support against gravitational collapse comes from pressure due to random motion of stars as seen in an elliptical galaxy rather than from rotation. The origin of the unusual combination of properties seen here is a puzzle. The standard theoretical N-body models in the literature cannot account for these systems. Further observational and dynamical studies of this new class of merger remnants are needed, and would be important for understanding merger dynamics and galaxy evolution.
Key words: galaxies: elliptical / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: interactions / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / galaxies: spiral / galaxies: structure
© ESO, 2002