The unusual vertical mass distribution of NGC 4013 seen through the Spitzer survey of stellar structure in galaxies (S^4G)

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NGC 4013 is a nearby Sb edge-on galaxy known for its "prodigious" H I warp and its "giant" tidal stream. Previous work on this unusual object shows that it cannot be fitted satisfactorily by a canonical thin+thick disk structure. We have produced a new decomposition of NGC 4013, considering three stellar flattened components (thin+thick disk plus an extra and more extended component) and one gaseous disk. All four components are considered to be gravitationally coupled and isothermal. To do so, we have used the 3.6 μm images from the Spitzer Survey of Stellar Structure in Galaxies. We find evidence for NGC 4013 indeed having a thin and a thick disk and an extra flattened component. This smooth and extended component (scale height z EC ~ 3 kpc) could be interpreted as a thick disk or as a squashed ellipsoidal halo and contains ~20% of the total mass of all three stellar components. We argue it is unlikely to be related to the ongoing merger or due to the off-plane stars from a warp in the other two disk components. Instead, we favor a scenario in which the thick disk and the extended component were formed in a two-stage process, in which an initially thick disk has been dynamically heated by a merger soon enough in the galaxy history to have a new thick disk formed within it.
© 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Artículo firmado por 23 autores. The authors thank the entire S^4G team for their efforts in this project. This work is based on observations and archival data made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. We are grateful to the dedicated staff at the Spitzer Science Center for their help and support in planning and execution of this Exploration Science program. We gratefully acknowledge support from NASA JPL/Spitzer grant RSA 1374189 provided for the S^(4)G project. E. A. and A. B. thank the CNES for support. K. S., J.-C. M.-M., T. K., and T. M. acknowledge support from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Funding for the SDSS has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by JPL, CALTECH, under contract with NASA.
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