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Cospatial counterrotating stellar disks in the Virgo E7/S0 galaxy NGC 4550
Rubin, Vera C.; Graham, J. A.; Kenney, Jeffrey D. P.
AA(Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC), AB(Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC), AC(Yale University, New Haven, CT)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 394, no. 1, July 20, 1992, p. L9-L12. (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Counter Rotation, Elliptical Galaxies, Stellar Structure, Absorption Spectra, Astronomical Spectroscopy, Emission Spectra, Galactic Structure, Luminosity, Virgo Galactic Cluster
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Two cospatial stellar disks, one orbiting prograde, one orbiting retrograde, in NGC 4550, an E7/S0 galaxy in the core of the Virgo Cluster have been discovered. One of the stellar disks is coincident with a gas disk. Absorption and emission-line velocities for the two counterrotating components have been measured over about one-third of the optical diameter. It is proposed that after the initial stellar disk of NGC 4550 was formed, a substantial amount of counterrotating gas was acquired greater than or equal to 10 exp 9 yr ago. It then settled to the plane via dissipation; the bulk of the counterrotating stars most likely formed after the gas settled to the plane.

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