Next Contents Previous

2.6. Conclusion

I have tried to show how a physical orientation to galaxy morphology can lead to new results on galaxy structure and evolution. Observed regularities in form and behavior provide specific suggestions for quantitative study. Since morphology is basically descriptive, and therefore a "soft" science, it is necessary to be extremely careful not to overinterpret the observations. The global meaning of the Hubble sequence has been studied using correlations of integral properties; the controlling parameter may be the increasing proportion of dark matter at later types. More detailed studies of internal structure and dynamics are conveniently made by exploring the properties of the distinct but interacting components of the mass distribution. This approach provides the framework for the following sections on galaxy photometry and kinematics.