Galaxy interactions in compact groups - II. Abundance and kinematic anomalies in HCG 91c

Frédéric P.A. Vogt*, Michael A. Dopita, Sanchayeeta Borthakur, Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro, Timothy M. Heckman, Min S. Yun, Kenneth C. Chambers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Galaxies in Hickson Compact Group 91 (HCG 91) were observed with the WiFeS integral field spectrograph as part of our ongoing campaign targeting the ionized gas physics and kinematics inside star-forming members of compact groups. Here, we report the discovery of HII regions with abundance and kinematic offsets in the otherwise unremarkable star-forming spiral HCG 91c. The optical emission line analysis of this galaxy reveals that at least three HII regions harbour an oxygen abundance ~0.15 dex lower than expected from their immediate surroundings and from the abundance gradient present in the inner regions of HCG 91c. The same star-forming regions are also associated with a small kinematic offset in the form of a lag of 5-10 km s-1 with respect to the local circular rotation of the gas. HI observations of HCG 91 from the Very Large Array and broad-band optical images from Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System) suggest that HCG 91c is caught early in its interaction with the other members of HCG 91. We discuss different scenarios to explain the origin of the peculiar star-forming regions detected with WiFeS, and show that evidence points towards infalling and collapsing extraplanar gas clouds at the disc-halo interface, possibly as a consequence of long-range gravitational perturbations of HCG91c from the other group members. As such, HCG 91c provides evidence that some of the perturbations possibly associated with the early phase of galaxy evolution in compact groups impact the star-forming disc locally, and on sub-kpc scales.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2593-2614
    Number of pages22
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2015


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