Integral field spectroscopy and multi-wavelength imaging of the nearby spiral galaxy ngc 5668*: an unusual flattening in metallicity gradient

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We present an analysis of the full bidimensional optical spectral cube of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 5668, observed with the Pmas fiber PAcK Integral Field Unit (IFU) at the Calar Alto observatory 3.5 m telescope. We make use of broadband imaging to provide further constraints on the evolutionary history of the galaxy. This data set will allow us to improve our understanding of the mechanisms that drive the evolution of disks. We investigated the properties of 62 H II regions and concentric rings in NGC 5668 and derived maps in ionized-gas attenuation and chemical (oxygen) abundances. We find that while inward of r similar to 36 '' similar to 4.4 kpc similar to 0.36 (D-25/2) the derived O/H ratio follows the radial gradient typical of spiral galaxies, the abundance gradient beyond r similar to 36 '' flattens out. The analysis of the multi-wavelength surface brightness profiles of NGC 5668 is performed by fitting these profiles with those predicted by chemo-spectrophotometric evolutionary models of galaxy disks. From this, we infer a spin and circular velocity of lambda = 0.053 and nu(c) = 167 km s(-1), respectively. The metallicity gradient and rotation curve predicted by this best-fitting galaxy model nicely match the values derived from the IFU observations, especially within r similar to 36 ''. The same is true for the colors despite some small offsets and a reddening in the bluest colors beyond that radius. On the other hand, deviations of some of these properties in the outer disk indicate that a secondary mechanism, possibly gas transfer induced by the presence of a young bar, must have played a role in shaping the recent chemical and star formation histories of NGC 5668.
© 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We thank the anonymous referee for reviewing the manuscript, and for the comments and suggestions that helped to improve the content of the paper. We also thank Carmen Eliche Moral, Fabián Rosales Ortega, Judit Bakos, and Sheila Kannappan for helpful discussions. R. A. Marino was also funded by the Spanish program International Campus of Excellence Moncloa (CEI). We thank the Calar Alto Observatory for the allocation of the director's discretionary time to this program. We acknowledge support from the Spanish Programa Nacional de Astronomía y Astrofísica under grant AYA 2009-10368. We are also partially funded by the Spanish MICINN under the Consolider-Ingenio 2010 Program grant CSD2006-00070: First Science with the GTC. J.C.M.M. receives financial support from NASA JPL/Spitzer grant RSA 1374189. He also acknowledges support from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech under NASA contract 1407. GALEX is a NASA Small Explorer launched in 2003 April. We gratefully acknowledge NASA's support for construction, operation, and scientific analysis of the GALEX mission. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This paper makes use of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS Web site is The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, the University of Basel, the University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, the Ohio State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington.
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