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and the UK Infrared Telescope operated by the Royal Observatory Edinburgh with financial support of the PPARC.

By Stéphane Courteau, Roelof S. De Jong and Adrick H. Broeils


We combine deep optical and IR photometry for 326 spiral galaxies from two recent galaxy samples and report that the surface brightness profiles of late-type spirals are best fit by two exponentials. Moreover, the ratio of bulge and disk scale lengths takes on a restricted range of values and is uncorrelated with Hubble type. This suggests a scale-free Hubble sequence for late-type spirals. Careful numerical simulations ensure that our results are not affected by seeing or resolution effects. Many of these galaxies show spiral structure continuing into the central regions with a previously undetected small bar and slowly changing colors between the inner disk and the bulge. We invoke secular dynamical evolution and interpret the nature of disk central regions in the context of gas inflow via angular-momentum transfer and viscous transport. In this scenario, galaxy morphologies in late-type spirals are not imprinted at birth but are the result of evolution. Subject headings: galaxies: formation, photometry, spiral, structur

Year: 1995
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