The Chemical Evolution Carousel of Spiral Galaxies: Azimuthal Variations of Oxygen Abundance in NGC1365

I. Ting Ho, Mark Seibert, Sharon E. Meidt, Rolf Peter Kudritzki, Chiaki Kobayashi, Brent A. Groves, Lisa J. Kewley, Barry F. Madore, Jeffrey A. Rich, Eva Schinnerer, Joshua D'Agostino, Henry Poetrodjojo

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    66 Citations (Scopus)


    The spatial distribution of oxygen in the interstellar medium of galaxies is the key to understanding how efficiently metals that are synthesized in massive stars can be redistributed across a galaxy. We present here a case study in the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 1365 using 3D optical data obtained in the TYPHOON Program. We find systematic azimuthal variations of the H ii region oxygen abundance imprinted on a negative radial gradient. The 0.2 dex azimuthal variations occur over a wide radial range of 0.3-0.7 R 25 and peak at the two spiral arms in NGC 1365. We show that the azimuthal variations can be explained by two physical processes: gas undergoes localized, sub-kiloparsec-scale self-enrichment when orbiting in the inter-arm region, and experiences efficient, kiloparsec-scale mixing-induced dilution when spiral density waves pass through. We construct a simple chemical evolution model to quantitatively test this picture and find that our toy model can reproduce the observations. This result suggests that the observed abundance variations in NGC 1365 are a snapshot of the dynamical local enrichment of oxygen modulated by spiral-driven, periodic mixing and dilution.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number39
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


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