A Warp in Progress: H I and Radio Continuum Observations of the Spiral NGC 3145

Michele Kaufman, E. Brinks, Curtis Struck, Bruce G. Elmegreen, Debra M. Elmegreen

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We present VLA H I and 6 cm radio continuum observations of the spiral NGC 3145 and H I observations of its two companions, NGC 3143 and PGC 029578. In optical images NGC 3145 has stellar arms that appear to cross, forming "X"-features. Our radio continuum observations rule out shock fronts at 3 of the 4 "X"-features. In the middle-to-outer disk, the H I line-profiles of NGC 3145 are skewed. Relative to the disk, the gas in the skewed wing of the line-profiles has z-motions away from us on the approaching side of the galaxy and z-motions of about the same magnitude (about 40 km/s) towards us on the receding side. These warping motions imply that there has been a perturbation with a sizeable component perpendicular to the disk over large spatial scales. Two features in NGC 3145 have velocities indicating that they are out-of-plane tidal arms. One is an apparent branch of a main spiral arm; the velocity of the branch is 150 km/s greater than the spiral arm where they appear to intersect in projection. The other is an arm that forms 3 of the "X"-features. It differs in velocity by 56 km/s from the disk at the same projected location. Based on its SFR and H I properties, NGC 3143 is the more likely of the two companions to have interacted with NGC 3145 recently. A simple analytic model demonstrates that an encounter between NGC 3143 and NGC 3145 is a plausible explanation for the observed warping motions in NGC 3145.
Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Number of pages21
JournalThe Astronomical Journal
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


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