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Session 82 - Spirals & Irregulars.
Display session, Friday, January 09
The group of galaxies including NGC 4631 provides an outstanding example of a galaxy interaction accompanied by intensive star formation. FUV imagery, recorded by the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), exhibits very bright far- ultraviolet (FUV) emission corresponding to the H II regions cataloged by Crillon and Monet (1969). This data is, in our experience, extraordinary in that NCG 4631 is observed nearly edge-on and strong attenuation of FUV light could be anticipated. Analysis of the ultraviolet imagery together with ground-based data leads to the following conclusions. The average extinction internal to the bright FUV regions is low [E(B--V) = 0.31], which combined with the optical morphology implies that the FUV bright regions are close to the edge of the galactic disk. The FUV luminosity of that part of the galaxy which can be observed is 8.2 \times 10^40 ergs/s and is about a factor 6 less than the FUV luminosities of M101 and M83. FUV colors, M152-U, M152-B and M152-V, when compared to the predicted colors from cluster formation models utilizing a Salpeter IMF imply an internal extinction like that of a non-30Dor LMC extinction curve (Fitzpatrick 1985). Instantaneous burst models indicate an average age of the FUV bright regions of about 6 Myr and a total created stellar mass of 2.8 \times 10^7 M_ødot . If the measured colors are compared to continuous star formation models, star formation beginning about 100 Myr in the past and continuing to the present with a total star formation rate in the FUV bright regions of 0.026 M_ødot /yr is implied. The total number of OB stars in the H II regions comprising the large ring in the eastern part of the galaxy (Rand's Shell #1, 1993) is inferred to be 20,000. This number can be compared to Rand's estimate of 10,000 to 35,000 supernova-producing OB stars which are required to impart momentum to an expanding shell of hydrogen gas.
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