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Astron. Astrophys. 362, 119-132 (2000)

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Spectroscopy of diffuse ionized gas in halos of selected edge-on galaxies *

R. Tüllmann and R.-J. Dettmar

Astronomisches Institut, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany

Received 21 June 1999 / Accepted 14 July 2000

Abstract

In order to examine the excitation and ionization mechanism of extraplanar diffuse ionized gas (DIG) we have obtained optical longslit spectra of seven edge-on spiral galaxies. In four objects the brightest emission lines can be traced out to distances of typically 1.5 kpc above the disk. For NGC 1963 and NGC 3044 line ratios such as [NII[FORMULA] or [SII[FORMULA] as well as [FORMULA]/[FORMULA] could be measured for the halo DIG. This allows us to discuss the DIG in the halo of these objects in the framework of diagnostic diagrams. For these two objects, the line ratios of [FORMULA]/[FORMULA] decrease with increasing [FORMULA], different from the recently reported trend in NGC 891 (Rand 1998). We find that emission lines from the DIG in the disks are in good agreement with photoionization models using a dilute radiation field. However, with increasing [FORMULA] these models fail to predict the measured [FORMULA]/[FORMULA] and [FORMULA]/[FORMULA] line ratios for NGC 1963. Diagnostic diagrams reveal for NGC 1963 the need for a second ionization mechanism of the halo DIG (besides photoionization). This additional source could be shock ionization. The same diagrams demonstrate an intermediate classification for NGC 3044. Plots of [FORMULA] vs. emission measure reveal significant changes towards the halo and seem to trace local small scale density fluctuations of the extraplanar DIG.

Key words: galaxies: halos – galaxies: ISM – galaxies: spiral

* Based on observations obtained at ESO/La Silla (Chile)

Send offprint requests to: tullmann@astro.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: October 30, 19100
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