AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 89. Clusters of Galaxies
Display, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 9:20am-4:00pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[89.05] Kinematic Disturbances in Rotation Curves among 89 Virgo Galaxies

V. C. Rubin (DTM, Carnegie Inst. of Washington), A. H. Waterman (Blair HS; Stanford U.), J. D. P. Kenney (Yale U.)

For 89 (mostly) spirals in the Virgo cluster, we have obtained optical long-slit spectra of the ionized gas. We find: (1) 50% of the Virgo galaxies we observed have regular rotation patterns; 50% exhibit kinematic disturbances ranging from mild to major. Velocity complexities are consistent with those resulting from tidal encounters or accretion. Since kinematic disturbances will to fade within ~1Gyr, many Virgo galaxies have experienced several significant kinematic disturbances during their lifetimes. (2) There is no strong correlation of rotation curve complexity with Hubble type, galaxy luminosity, local galaxy density, or HI deficiency. (3) There is a remarkable difference in the distribution of galaxy systemic velocity for galaxies in the two classes. Galaxies with regular rotation patterns show a flat distribution with velocities ranging from V = -300 km/sec to V = +2500 km/sec; galaxies with disturbed kinematics have a Gaussian distribution which peaks at V = +1172100 km/sec, near the cluster mean velocity. This distribution is virtually identical to the distribution of systemic velocities for elliptical galaxies in Virgo. However, disturbed spirals are less centrally concentrated than the ellipticals and those near the periphery are more likely to have the mean cluster velocity. We suggest that spirals with disturbed kinematics are preferentially on radial orbits, which bring them to the denser core, where tidal interactions are strong and/or more common. However, because they spend most of their time near apocenter, we observe them near the periphery of the cluster. Some may be falling into the core for the first time. For a non-virialized cluster like Virgo, galaxies may encounter either local (nearby galaxies) or global (cluster related) interactions. These interactions may alter the galaxy morphology, and may play a role in driving the Virgo cluster toward dynamical equilibrium.

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