Aims: The blue compact dwarf galaxy IIZw71 is catalogued as a probable polar-ring galaxy, and along its long axis it has several very luminous knots showing recent episodes of star formation. Our main aim is to study the physical properties, the stellar content, and the kinematics in the brightest knots of the polar ring.
Methods: We carried out long-slit spectroscopic observations of the polar ring in the spectral range 3500-10 000 Å taken with the William Herschel Telescope (WHT). The spectroscopic observations complemented by the available photometry of the galaxy in narrow Hα filters.
Results: We measured the rotation curve of the ring, from which we infer a ratio M/LB ≈ 3.9 inside the star-forming ring. We measured the auroral [Oiii] line in the two brightest knots, allowing us to measure oxygen, sulphur, nitrogen, argon, and neon chemical abundances following the direct method. Different empirical calibrators were used to estimate the oxygen abundance in the two faintest knots where the temperature sensitive lines could not be measured. The metallicities obtained are very similar for all the knots, but lower than previously reported in the literature from integrated spectra. The N/O abundance, as derived from the N2O2 parameter (the ratio of the [Nii] and [Oii] intensities), is remarkably constant over the ring, indicating that local polution processes are not conspicuous. Using synthetic stellar populations (SSPs) calculated with the code STARLIGHT, we studied the age distribution of the stellar populations in each knot, finding that in all of them there is a combination of a very young population with less than 10 Myr, responsible for the ionisation of the gas, with other populations older than 100 Myr, probably responsible for the chemical evolution of the knots. The small differences in metallicity and the age distributions among the different knots are indicative of a common chemical evolution, probably related to the process of interaction with the companion galaxy IIZw70. Finally, we calculated the SFR in the different knots from the Hα luminosities. The combined SFR rate for the ring amounts to half of the integrated SFR for this galaxy reported by previous authors. The average surface SFR is also higher than the average reported value of HII in polar rings by more than an order of magnitude.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- April 2009
- galaxies: evolution;
- galaxies: abundances;
- galaxies: starburst;
- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics;
- galaxies: stellar content;
- Astrophysics - Galaxy Astrophysics
- 11 pages, 9 figures. Accepted for publication in Astronomy &