25 April 2002 CfA Colloquium

Clues on Galaxy Structure and Evolution from Studies of `Superthin' Spirals

Speaker: Lynn Matthews


`Superthins' are a subset of spiral galaxies seen edge-on that exhibit highly flattened stellar disks, unusually small disk scale heights, and little or no bulge component. These appear to be among the structurally simplest and dynamically least evolved disk galaxies observable in the local universe. Therefore studies of these objects can yield important insight into the manner in which both internal and external processes affect the evolution of galactic disks. I will highlight some results from the analysis of multiwavelength observations of two nearby superthin spirals. I will discuss the clues these observations shed on a variety of phenomena governing the evolution of galaxy disks, including warping, dynamical heating, morphological transformations, and the nature and distribution of galactic dark matter.

References for students:

Binney, J. 1992, ARA&A, 30, 51

Matthews, L. D. 2000, AJ, 120, 1764

Reshetnikov, V. & Combes, F. 1997, A&A, 324, 80