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Astron. Astrophys. 318, L51-L54 (1997)

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Letter to the Editor

A correlation between CO linewidth and starburst age in barred spiral galaxies *

T. Contini 1, H. Wozniak 2, S. Considère 3 and E. Davoust 1

1 Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, UMR 5572, 14 Avenue E. Belin, F-31400 Toulouse, France
2 Observatoire de Marseille, URA CNRS 237, 2 Place Le Verrier, F-13248 Marseille Cedex 4, France
3 Observatoire de Besançon, EP CNRS 123, B.P. 1615, F-25010 Besançon Cedex, France

Received 15 October 1996 / Accepted 19 December 1996


New CO(1 [FORMULA] 0) and CO(2 [FORMULA] 1) profiles complemented by data from the literature are used to obtain CO linewidths for 29 barred spiral galaxies with young nuclear starbursts. The ages of the starbursts were estimated from optical spectroscopy and recent evolutionary synthesis models. The CO linewidths and the starburst ages are correlated : galaxies with young (4-6 Myr) starbursts display narrow ([FORMULA] km.s-1) CO line while those with older starbursts show broader CO lines. We discuss several scenarios of the gas dynamics during the nuclear starbursts' evolution to interpret the correlation.

Key words: Galaxies: evolution – Galaxies: ISM – Galaxies: nuclei – Galaxies: starburst

* Based on observations obtained at the 30 meter radiotelescope on Pico Veleta, operated by IRAM and the 1.93 meter telescope of Observatoire de Haute-Provence, operated by INSU (CNRS).

Send offprint requests to: wozniak@observatoire.cnrs-mrs.fr

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: July 8, 1998