ARlogo Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 2001. 39: 137-174
Copyright © 2001 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved

Reprinted with kind permission from Annual Reviews, 4139 El Camino Way, Palo Alto, California, USA

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Yoshiaki Sofue

Institute of Astronomy, University of Tokyo, Mitaka
Tokyo 181-0015, Japan


Vera Rubin

Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Wash.
5241 Broad Branch Road, N.W., Washington, DC 20015, USA

Abstract. Rotation curves of spiral galaxies are the major tool for determining the distribution of mass in spiral galaxies. They provide fundamental information for understanding the dynamics, evolution and formation of spiral galaxies. We describe various methods to derive rotation curves, and review the results obtained. We discuss the basic characteristics of observed rotation curves in relation to various galaxy properties, such as Hubble type, structure, activity, and environment.

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