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Kinematics of tidal tails in interacting galaxies: Tidal Dwarf Galaxies and projection effects

Abstract : The kinematics of tidal tails in colliding galaxies has been studied via Fabry-Perot observations of the Halpha emission. With their large field of view and high spatial resolution, the Fabry-Perot data allow to probe simultaneously, in 2-D, two kinematical features of the tidal ionized gas: large-scale velocity gradients due to streaming motions along the tails, and small-scale motions related to the internal dynamics of giant HII regions within the tails. In several interacting systems, massive (10^9 Msun) condensations of HI, CO and stars are observed in the outer regions of tails. Whether they are genuine accumulations of matter or not is still debated. Indeed a part of the tidal tail may be aligned with the line-of-sight, and the associated projection effect may result in apparent accumulations of matter that does not exist in the 3-D space. Using numerical simulations, we show that studying the large-scale kinematics of tails, it is possible to know whether these accumulations of matter are the result of projection effects or not. We conclude that several ones are genuine accumulations of matter. We also study the small-scale motions inside these regions: several small-scale velocity gradients are identified with projected values as large as 50-100 km/s accross the observed HII regions. In one system, the spatial resolution of our observations is sufficient to detail the velocity field; we show that it is rotating and self-gravitating, and discuss its dark matter content. The Fabry-Perot observations have thus enabled us to prove that some 10^9 Msun condensations of matter are real structures, and are kinematically decoupled from the rest of the tail. Such massive and self-gravitating objects are the progenitors of the so-called \'\'Tidal Dwarf Galaxies\'\'.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 17, 2005 - 12:11:38 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 2:37:07 PM

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F. Bournaud, P. -A. Duc, P. Amram, F. Combes, J. L. Gach. Kinematics of tidal tails in interacting galaxies: Tidal Dwarf Galaxies and projection effects. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2004, 425, pp.813-823. ⟨hal-00007644⟩

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