AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 40. Evolution of Galaxies, Galaxy Surveys, IGM
Display, Tuesday, June 4, 2002, 10:00am-6:30pm, SW Exhibit Hall

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[40.09] A search for molecular gas at the far end of the Hubble sequence

T. Boeker (STScI), U. Lisenfeld (IAA), E. Schinnerer (Caltech)

We will present the results of a search for molecular gas in a sample of about 50 extremely late-type spirals selected for distance and inclination. We used the IRAM 30m telescope to determine the molecular gas content, as traced by the CO(1-0) and (2-1) lines, in the central region of these disk-dominated, unevolved galaxies. Measuring the molecular gas content is an important step in understanding the formation of the compact nuclear star clusters that are found in the photocenters of the majority of late-type spirals. The mere existence of these clusters is puzzling because gravity hardly provides a vector pointing at the center on these shallow disks that do not have a massive bulge. In addition, recent spectroscopic studies have shown that many of the nuclear clusters are rather young (less than a few 100 Myrs) which implies that their formation is a recurrent event. However, it is unclear what the feeding mechanism of these nuclear starbursts are. The results of our survey will yield a representative view of the central gas reservoirs in the latest-type spirals, allow a comparison to earlier-type spirals with more prominent bulges, and will produce a source catalog for high-resolution interferometric follow-up studies to investigate the mechanism(s) that funnel gas towards the very nucleus.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: boeker@stsci.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.