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Density wave theory and the classification of spiral galaxies
Roberts, W. W., Jr.; Roberts, M. S.; Shu, F. H.
AA(National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, Va.), AB(National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, Va.)
Astrophysical Journal, vol. 196, Mar. 1, 1975, pt. 1, p. 381-405. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Astronomical Models, Classifications, Galactic Structure, Spiral Galaxies, Angular Velocity, Astronomical Catalogs, Galactic Nuclei, Mass Distribution, Shock Waves, Stellar Evolution, Stellar Luminosity, Stellar Mass
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Axisymmetric models of disk galaxies taken together with the density wave theory allow one to distinguish and categorize spiral galaxies by means of two fundamental galactic parameters: the total mass of the galaxy, divided by a characteristic dimension, and the degree of concentration of mass toward the galactic center. These two parameters govern the strength of the galactic shocks in the interstellar gas and the geometry of the spiral wave pattern. In turn, the shock strength and the theoretical pitch angle of the spiral arms play a major role in determining the degree of development of spiral structure in a galaxy and its Hubble type. The application of these results to 24 external galaxies demonstrates that the categorization of galaxies according to this theoretical framework correlates well with the accepted classification of these galaxies within the observed sequences of luminosity class and Hubble type.

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arXiv e-prints