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

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

For a PDF version of the article, click here.

ROTATION CURVES OF SPIRAL GALAXIES

Yoshiaki Sofue


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

and

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.


Table of Contents

HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION

THE DATA
H and Optical Measurements
HI line
CO Line
Maser Lines
Planetary Nebulae, Fabry-Perot, and Integral Field Spectrometers

MEASURING ROTATION VELOCITIES
Intensity-Weighted-Velocity Method
Centroid-Velocity and Peak-Intensity-Velocity Methods
Envelope-Tracing Method
Iteration Method
Absorption Line Velocities
Dependence on Observational Methods

CENTRAL ROTATION CURVES
High Resolution and Dynamic Range
The Milky Way Center
Rapidly Rotating Central Components and Massive Cores
Massive Black Holes and Circum-nuclear Rotation
Activity and Rotation Curves
Resonance Rings
Nuclear Warp
Nuclear Counterrotation
Non-circular Motion in Nuclear Molecular Bar

DISK ROTATION CURVES
Statistical Properties of Rotation Curves
Environmental Effects in Clusters
Lopsided Position-Velocity Diagrams
Counterrotating Disks and Other Kinematic Curiosities
Rotation of High Redshift Galaxies
Rotation Velocity as a Fundamental Parameter of Galaxy Dynamics and Evolution

HALO ROTATION CURVES AND DARK MATTER: A Brief Mention
Flat Rotation Curve in the Halo
Massive Dark Halo
The Extent of the Milky Way Halo
Declining Rotation Curves

GALAXY TYPES AND ROTATION CHARACTERISTICS
Sa, Sb, Sc Galaxies
Barred Galaxies
Low Surface Brightness Galaxies; Dwarf Galaxies
Large Magellanic Cloud
Irregular Galaxies: Interacting and Merging
Polar Ring Galaxies

THE FUTURE

REFERENCES

Next