NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001A-0148

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Proposal Information for 2001A-0148


PI: Rob Swaters, Carnegie Institution of Washington, swaters@dtm.ciw.edu
Address: 5241 Broad Branch Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015, USA

CoI: Vera Rubin, Carnegie Institution of Washington
CoI: Thijs van der Hulst, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

Title: High-resolution Rotation Curves of Spiral Galaxies

Abstract: Our understanding of the mass distribution, and in particular of the distribution of dark matter and of the relations between dark and luminous mass in galaxies is still far from complete. To address these issues in a systematic and statistical way, a large sample of galaxies is needed for which extended, well-resolved rotation curves and accurate surface photometry are available. An ideal sample for this is the Westerbork HI Survey of Spiral and Irregular Galaxies (WHISP), as part of which optical and HI imaging, and HI rotation curves, are obtained for 240 early and late-type spiral galaxies. The HI observations provide the rotation curve in the outer disk, but do not have the high resolution that is essential to determine the inner shape of the rotation curves. To cure this, we propose to obtain longslit H(alpha) spectroscopy for all of the 240 spiral galaxies in the WHISP sample. The combination of HI rotation curves with high resolution H(alpha) rotation curves will provide a unique database of 240 disk galaxies for which extended, well-resolved, high-quality rotation curves are available. This database will be used to determine the mass distribution in galaxies, and the relations between the rotation curves and the luminious properties, and will put strong limits on the distribution of dark matter. When completed, this database will be made available to the astronomical community.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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