Gasdynamics in NGC 5248: Fueling a Circumnuclear Starburst Ring of Super–Star Clusters Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Through observations and modeling, we demonstrate how the recently discovered large-scale bar in NGC 5248 generates spiral structure which extends from 10 kpc down to 100 pc, fuels star formation on progressively smaller scales, and drives disk evolution. Deep inside the bar, two massive molecular spirals cover nearly 180 degrees in azimuth, show streaming motions of 20--40 km/s and feed a starburst ring of super star clusters at 375 pc. They also connect to two narrow K-band spirals which delineate the UV-bright star clusters in the ring. The data suggest that the K-band spirals are young, and the starburst has been triggered by a bar-driven spiral density wave (SDW). The latter may even have propagated closer to the center where a second Halpha ring and a dust spiral are found. The molecular and HST data support a scenario where stellar winds and supernovae efficiently clear out gas from dense star-forming regions on timescales less than a few Myrs. We have investigated the properties of massive CO spirals within the framework of bar-driven SDWs, incorporating the effect of gas self-gravity. We find good agreement between the model predictions and the observed morphology, kinematics, and pitch angle of the spirals. This combination of observations and modeling provides the best evidence to date for a strong dynamical coupling between the nuclear region and the surrounding disk. It also confirms that a low central mass concentration, which may be common in late-type galaxies, is particularly favorable to the propagation of a bar-driven gaseous SDW deep into the central region of the galaxy, whereas a large central mass concentration favors other processes, such as the formation and decoupling of nuclear bars.


  • Jogee, Shardha
  • Shlosman, Isaac
  • Laine, Seppo
  • Englmaier, Peter
  • Knapen, Johan H
  • Scoville, Nick
  • Wilson, Christine D

publication date

  • August 10, 2002