AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 116. Galaxies - Activating
Poster, Thursday, January 9, 2003, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[116.03U] The Role of Companions in the Asymmetry of Magellanic Spiral Galaxies

M. K. Prescott, E. M. Wilcots (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

In a survey of large Magellanic spiral galaxies in the RC3 catalog using the Palomar and UK Schmidt plates, Odewahn (1994) found that 71 out of 75 galaxies with strong asymmetric characteristics had optical companions. This seemed to indicate a correlation between optical asymmetry and the existence of a nearby neighbor, with tidal interaction mechanisms an attractive explanation. However, using the VLA to obtain HI observations on a portion of these galaxies, we find that only 4 of 13 have another galaxy in close proximity. If our subset is indeed representative of the entire sample, this indicates that only about a third of Magellanic spirals have companions. In this study we report quantitative asymmetry measurements of these galaxies both in HI as well as in optical data from the WIYN 3.5m telescope. We compare the companion and non-companion subsets using median velocities and area asymmetries. It appears that the observed asymmetry of Magellanic spiral galaxies is unrelated to the existence of current companions.

We would like to thank the National Science Foundation, the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Honors Department, and the Wisconsin/Hilldale Research Fellowship Program.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.