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Nuclear properties of a sample of nearby spirals from STIS imaging

By C. Scarlata, M. Stiavelli, M. A. Hughes, D. Axon, A. Alonso-herrero, J. Atkinson, D. Batcheldor, J. Binney, A. Capetti, C. M. Carollo, L. Dressel, J. Gerssen, D. Macchetto, W. Maciejewski, A. Marconi, M. Merrifield, M. Ruiz, W. Sparks, Z. Tsvetanov and R. P. Van Der Marel


We present surface photometry for the central regions of a sample of 48 spiral galaxies (mostly unbarred and barred of types Sbc or Sc) observed with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope. Surface brightness profiles were derived and modeled with a Nuker law. We also analyzed archival Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 images with a larger field of view, available for 18 galaxies in our sample. We modeled the extracted bulge surface brightness profiles with an exponential, an r 1/4, or an r n profile. In agreement with previous studies, we find that bulges of Sbc galaxies fall into two categories: bulges well described by an exponential profile and those well described by an r 1/4 profile. Only one galaxy requires the use of a more general Sersic profile to properly describe the bulge. Nuclear photometrically distinct components are found in ∼ 55 % of the galaxies. For those that we classify as star clusters based on their resolved extent we find absolute magnitudes that are brighter on average than those previously identified in spiral galaxies. This might be due to a bias in our sample toward star forming galaxies, combined with a trend for star formin

Year: 2004
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