The Stability of Galaxy Disks
American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #221, #146.15
Published in Jan 2013
Using measurements of velocity dispersion and mass surface density for both the gas and stellar components, we calculate the multi-component stability (Q) for 30 galaxy disks observed by the DiskMass Survey. Despite their sub-maximality (Bershady et al. 2011, ApJL, 739, 47), we find all disks to be stable with roughly 85% falling in the range 1〈Q〈2.5. Fundamental to our stability calculation is the characterization of the stellar velocity ellipsoid (SVE) in each galaxy. We measure the shape of the SVE using methods developed by Westfall (2009, PhD Thesis) and Westfall et al. (2011, ApJ, 742, 18); these methods primarily hinge on asymmetric-drift measurements determined by our gas and stellar rotation curves. We find high-quality SVE measurements for a third of the galaxies in our sample. Practical (inclination) limitations and/or the requisite dynamical assumptions in these methods currently prevent satisfactory SVE solutions for the remainder of our sample; for these galaxies, we determine Q using reasonable SVE estimates based on our own high-quality results and others gathered from the literature (e.g., van der Kruit Gerssen & Shapiro Griffin 2012, MNRAS, 423, 2726). Finally, we explore correlations between disk stability and other galaxy properties such as star-formation rate, gas mass fraction, disk maximality, and Hubble type to understand their interdependencies within the context of the secular evolution of galaxy disks. We acknowledge support for this work from the National Science Foundation (AST-0307417, AST-0607516, OISE-0754437, AST-1009491), The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (grant 614.000.807), the UW Graduate School (PRJ13SL, 050167, and the Vilas Associate award), the Leids Kerkhoven-Bosscha Fonds, and NASA/JPL/Spitzer (GO-30894).
(c) 2013: American Astronomical Society