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2.2. Physical foundations of the Hubble sequence

Figure 1 shows the familiar ``tuning fork'' diagram, representing Sandage's definitive exposition [71] of the system described by Hubble in his book Realm of the Nebulae [48]. I assume the reader is familiar with the basic organization of the classification system, and I will focus here on issues of physical interpretation. Because of limited space, this section only touches upon the details of the Hubble system - in particular I do not have space to describe the important extensions to the Hubble sequence developed by de Vaucouleurs [23]. The reader can consult several excellent reviews for more comprehensive descriptions of these issues [52, 74, 85]. Furthermore, I will not be able to consider alternative classification systems in this lecture - in my view the most important of these is the Yerkes system developed by Morgan [63, 64], based on central concentration of galaxian light.

Figure 1

Figure 1. The ``tuning fork'' of the classical Hubble sequence [47]. As described below, the correlation between position on this sequence and the physical properties of galaxies suggests a strong underlying link between morphology and galaxy evolution.