AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 40 Galaxies
Poster, Wednesday, May 28, 2003, 10:00am-6:45pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[40.05] Stellar and Gaseous Kinematics of Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxies

J. Ten Barge, L. van Zee (Indiana), E. D. Skillman (Minnesota), J. J. Salzer (Wesleyan)

The high star formation rate in blue compact dwarf galaxies suggests that these galaxies are in a temporary phase of their evolution. Over the last few decades, numerous studies have searched for possible triggers of the star formation activity (including tidal triggers by nearby companions or merger induced starbursts) and for indications of the ultimate fate of these galaxies once the starburst ends. Here, we present a kinematic study of the stellar and gaseous components of starbursting dwarf galaxies in order to further our understanding of these enigmatic galaxies. We present resolved rotation curves of 9 blue compact dwarf (BCD) galaxies obtained with the RC Spectrograph on the CTIO 4m; the wavelength range of the optical spectra includes both the calcium triplet lines (stellar) and the [S III] emission lines (ionized gas). Preliminary analysis of the spectra indicates that the majority of these galaxies are rotation dominated, and that the gaseous and stellar components are kinematically coupled. Interestingly, a few of the galaxies appear to have decoupled kinematics, suggesting that their high star formation rate may have been induced by a catastropic event. In these cases, the gaseous component has a significant velocity gradient while the stellar component has no evidence of rotation. These latter cases are particularly intriguing because the optical images and HI data cubes for these galaxies show no evidence of perturbed isophotes or other obvious signatures of interaction.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.