The discs of galaxies are primarily stellar systems, and fundamentally dynamical entities. Thus, to obtain a full understanding of galactic discs, we must study their stellar kinematics as well as their morphologies. Observational techniques have now advanced to a point where quite detailed stellar-kinematic information can be extracted from spectral observations. This review presents three illustrative examples of analyses that make use of such information to study the formation and evolution of these systems: the derivation of the pattern speed of the bar in NGC 936; the calculation of the complete velocity ellipsoid of random motions in NGC 488; and the strange phenomenon of counter-rotation seen in NGC 3593.
Astrophysical Discs - an EC Summer School
- Pub Date:
- April 1999
- 11 pages, LaTeX (including 7 figures), uses paspconf.sty and epsf.sty, to be published in Proceedings of the EC Summer School on 'Astrophysical Discs', eds J. A. Sellwood and J. Goodman, ASP Conf. Series