NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0082

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0082


PI: Kimberly A. Herrmann, Lowell Observatory, herrmann@lowell.edu
Address: 1400 West Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA

CoI: Robin Ciardullo, Penn State University

Title: The Stellar Kinematics of Outer Disks: Evidence for Halo Substructure?

Abstract: \centerlineLook at a spiral; what do you see? Stars zooming `round in the galaxy! \centerlineTheir motions indicate total mass, but how much is DM, stars, and gas? \centerlineStudy motions in and out; first find monochromatic stars- that's my kind. \centerlineFind us, get our velocities, then: determine disk mass! I'm a PN! Rotation curves indicate the total mass of spirals, but halo mass profiles cannot be decoupled from the visible disk mass using rotation curves alone. To break this disk-halo degeneracy, we have been using planetary nebulae (PNe) to measure the z-component of the stellar velocity dispersion for the disks of face-on spirals. These measurements of \sigma_z, coupled with straightforward assumptions, have yielded disk surface mass estimates over several scale lengths (h_R) in 6 spirals. We find that while the inner ~3h_R of spiral galaxies have a constant mass-to-light ratio (M/L, consistent with a maximal-disk), \sigma_z in the outer disks is roughly flat with radius. This could be evidence for an increasing disk M/L, the presence of additional luminosity at large radii, disk flaring, or the existence of discrete cold-dark-matter subhalos which heat the disk. We propose to extend our PN survey to the extreme outer disks of M101 and M94 and to find PNe in the low-inclination M95, a barred galaxy with a nuclear star-forming ring like M94. Last year we proposed to image M94 and M101 with the wide-field Mosaic camera on the KPNO 4-m telescope. We were successful with M94, but clouds prevented us from observing M101. This proposal is to image M101 and M95 with Mosaic and to perform follow-up spectroscopy on outer PNe in M94 with WIYN/Hydra.


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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