The growth of the central region by acquisition of counterrotating gas in star-forming galaxies

Yan Mei Chen, Yong Shi, Christy A. Tremonti, Matt Bershady, Michael Merrifield, Eric Emsellem, Yi Fei Jin, Song Huang, Hai Fu, David A. Wake, Kevin Bundy, David Stark, Lihwai Lin, Maria Argudo-Fernandez, Thaisa Storchi Bergmann, Dmitry Bizyaev, Joel Brownstein, Martin Bureau, John Chisholm, Niv DroryQi Guo, Lei Hao, Jian Hu, Cheng Li, Ran Li, Alexandre Roman Lopes, Kai Ke Pan, Rogemar A. Riffel, Daniel Thomas, Lan Wang, Kyle Westfall, Ren Bin Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Galaxies grow through both internal and external processes. In about 10% of nearby red galaxies with little star formation, gas and stars are counter-rotating, demonstrating the importance of external gas acquisition in these galaxies. However, systematic studies of such phenomena in blue, star-forming galaxies are rare, leaving uncertain the role of external gas acquisition in driving evolution of blue galaxies. Here, based on new measurements with integral field spectroscopy of a large representative galaxy sample, we find an appreciable fraction of counter-rotators among blue galaxies (9 out of 489 galaxies). The central regions of blue counter-rotators show younger stellar populations and more intense, ongoing star formation than their outer parts, indicating ongoing growth of the central regions. The result offers observational evidence that the acquisition of external gas in blue galaxies is possible; the interaction with pre-existing gas funnels the gas into nuclear regions (<1 kpc) to form new stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13269
JournalNature Communications
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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