Dynamics of the interstellar matter in galaxies : isolated barred spiral galaxies : cloud formation processes

University dissertation from Stockholm : Stockholms universitet

Abstract: The dynamical components of six isolated barred spiral (SB) galaxies are investigated. No evidence is found supporting the hypothesis of a low amount of dark matter being characteristic of SB galaxies. The presence of companion galaxies is found to correlate with an increased statistical spread in the neutral hydrogen (HI) extent. It is concluded that the selection of galaxies with large HI extent may introduce a bias towards tidally interacting systems.The circumnuclear region of the SB galaxy NGC 1365 is studied with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Numerous bright "super star clusters" (SSCs) are detected, surrounding the active nucleus. The bright compact radio source NGC 1365:A is found to coincide spatially with one of the SSCs. We conclude that the source is a "radio supernova". In the [OIII] l 5007 line, the HST resolves individual clouds within the conical outflow from the nucleus, some of which gather in larger agglomerations.An in-depth study of the dynamics of the SB galaxy NGC 1300 is presented. Multi-wavelength data yield an estimate of the velocity field and gravitational potential. Subsequent hydrodynamical simulations are able to reproduce the morphology and kinematics in the bar region using a pure bar perturbing potential. To reproduce the spiral structure a weak spiral component has to be added, indicative of stellar spiral response to the bar and/or self-gravitating gas in the arms. Two separate models, differing mainly with respect to pattern speed and associated resonance structure, are found to reproduce the observations.We study numerically the linear polarization and extinction of light from background stars passing through molecular clouds, illuminating the intricacies of the derivation of the magnetic-field-line pattern in a cloud from the observed polarization pattern: Due to a higher gas-grain collision frequency within the cloud, the polarization caused by the cloud may well be dominated by background/foreground polarization. Furthermore, variations in field-orientation along the line-of-sight may cause notable differences between the observed polarization vectors and the true magnetic-field-line pattern.Small-scale, helical, interstellar filaments are discussed on the basis of optical observations of an "elephant trunk" structure in the Rosette nebula. The observed sinusoidal filaments are suggested to be helices lined up by magnetic fields. We propose that the Rosette elephant trunks form an interconnected system of rope-like structures which are relics from filamentary skeletons of magnetic fields in the primordial cloud.Stochastic mass fractionation of a molecular cloud is simulated numerically. It is found that geometry alone may constrain the resulting mass spectrum of molecular cloud clumps. We demonstrate that further fragmentation of the cloud clumps, under the assumption of a lower limit of the self-similar regime, produces a mass spectrum that has qualitative and quantitative similarities with the empirically determined stellar initial mass function.

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