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RR Lyrae-based calibration of the Globular Cluster Luminosity Function
We test whether the peak absolute magnitude MV(TO) of theGlobular Cluster Luminosity Function (GCLF) can be used for reliableextragalactic distance determination. Starting with the luminosityfunction of the Galactic Globular Clusters listed in Harris catalogue,we determine MV(TO) either using current calibrations of theabsolute magnitude MV(RR) of RR Lyrae stars as a function ofthe cluster metal content [Fe/H] and adopting selected cluster samples.We show that the peak magnitude is slightly affected by the adoptedMV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation, with the exception of that based onthe revised Baade-Wesselink method, while it depends on the criteria toselect the cluster sample. Moreover, grouping the Galactic GlobularClusters by metallicity, we find that the metal-poor (MP) ([Fe/H]<-1.0, <[Fe/H]>~-1.6) sample shows peak magnitudes systematicallybrighter by about 0.36mag than those of the metal-rich (MR) ([Fe/H]>-1.0, (<[Fe/H]>~-0.6) one, in substantial agreement with thetheoretical metallicity effect suggested by synthetic Globular Clusterpopulations with constant age and mass function. Moving outside theMilky Way, we show that the peak magnitude of the MP clusters in M31appears to be consistent with that of Galactic clusters with similarmetallicity, once the same MV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation is used fordistance determination. As for the GCLFs in other external galaxies,using Surface Brightness Fluctuations (SBF) measurements we giveevidence that the luminosity functions of the blue (MP) GlobularClusters peak at the same luminosity within ~0.2mag, whereas for the red(MR) samples the agreement is within ~0.5mag even accounting for thetheoretical metallicity correction expected for clusters with similarages and mass distributions. Then, using the SBF absolute magnitudesprovided by a Cepheid distance scale calibrated on a fiducial distanceto Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), we show that the MV(TO)value of the MP clusters in external galaxies is in excellent agreementwith the value of both Galactic and M31 ones, as inferred by an RR Lyraedistance scale referenced to the same LMC fiducial distance. Eventually,adopting μ0(LMC) = 18.50mag, we derive that the luminosityfunction of MP clusters in the Milky Way, M31, and external galaxiespeak at MV(TO) =-7.66 +/- 0.11, - 7.65 +/- 0.19 and -7.67 +/-0.23mag, respectively. This would suggest a value of -7.66 +/- 0.09mag(weighted mean), with any modification of the LMC distance modulusproducing a similar variation of the GCLF peak luminosity.

The Light Echo around Supernova 2003gd in Messier 74
We confirm the discovery of a light echo around the Type II-plateausupernova 2003gd in Messier 74 (NGC 628), seen in images obtained withthe High Resolution Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on boardthe Hubble Space Telescope (HST) as part of a larger Snapshot program onthe late-time emission from supernovae. The analysis of the echo wepresent suggests that it is due to the SN light pulse scattered by asheet of dust grains located ~113 pc in front of the SN, and that thesegrains are not unlike those assumed to be in the diffuse Galacticinterstellar medium, both in composition and in size distribution. Theecho is less consistent with scattering off carbon-rich grains, and ifanything, the grains may be somewhat more silicate rich than theGalactic dust composition. The echo also appears to be more consistentwith a SN distance closer to 7 Mpc than to 9 Mpc. This further supportsthe conclusion we reached elsewhere that the initial mass for the SNprogenitor was relatively low (~8-9 Msolar). The HST shouldbe used to continue to monitor the echo in several bands, particularlyin the blue, to better constrain its origin.Based in part on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble SpaceTelescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI),which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research inAstronomy (AURA), Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

Scalar potential model of redshift and discrete redshift
On the galactic scale the universe is inhomogeneous and redshift z isoccasionally less than zero. A scalar potential model (SPM) that linksthe galaxy scale z to the cosmological scale z of the Hubble Law ispostulated. Several differences among galaxy types suggest that spiralgalaxies are Sources and that early type, lenticular, and irregulargalaxies are Sinks of a scalar potential field. The morphology-radiusand the intragalactic medium cluster observations support the movementof matter from Source galaxies to Sink galaxies. A cell structure ofgalaxy groups and clusters is proposed to resolve a paradox concerningthe scalar potential like the Olber’s paradox concerning light.For the sample galaxies, the ratio of the luminosity of Source galaxiesto the luminosity of Sink galaxies approaches 2.7 ± 0.1. Anequation is derived from sample data, which is anisotropic andinhomogeneous, relating z of and the distance D to galaxies. Thecalculated z has a correlation coefficient of 0.88 with the measured zfor a sample of 32 spiral galaxies with D calculated using Cepheidvariable stars. The equation is consistent with z < 0 observations ofclose galaxies. At low cosmological distances, the equation reduces to z≈ exp(KD)‑1 ≈ KD, where K is a constant, positive value. Theequation predicts z from galaxies over 18 Gpc distant approaches aconstant value on the order of 500. The SPM of z provides a physicalbasis for the z of particle photons. Further, the SPM qualitativelysuggests the discrete variations in z, which was reported by Tifft[Tifft, W.G., 1997. Astrophy. J. 485, 465] and confirmed by others, areconsistent with the SPM.

Cepheid Distances to SNe Ia Host Galaxies Based on a Revised Photometric Zero Point of the HST WFPC2 and New PL Relations and Metallicity Corrections
With this paper we continue the preparation for a forthcoming summaryreport of our experiment with the HST to determine the Hubble constantusing Type Ia supernovae as standard candles. Two problems areaddressed. (1) We examine the need for, and determine the value of, thecorrections to the apparent magnitudes of our program Cepheids in the 11previous calibration papers due to sensitivity drifts and chargetransfer effects of the HST WFPC2 camera over the life time of theexperiment from 1992 to 2001. (2) The corrected apparent magnitudes areapplied to all our previous photometric data from which revised distancemoduli are calculated for the eight program galaxies that are parents tothe calibrator Ia supernovae. Two different Cepheid P-L relations areused; one for the Galaxy and one for the LMC. These differ both in slopeand zero point at a fixed period. The procedures for determining theabsorption and reddening corrections for each Cepheid are discussed.Corrections for the effects of metallicity differences between theprogram galaxies and the two adopted P-L relations are derived andapplied. The distance moduli derived here for the eight supernovaeprogram galaxies, and for 29 others, average 0.20 mag fainter (moredistant) than those derived by Gibson et al. and Freedman et al. intheir 2000 and 2001 summary papers for reasons discussed in this paper.The effect on the Hubble constant is the subject of our forthcomingsummary paper.

Magnetic Fields in Starburst Galaxies and the Origin of the FIR-Radio Correlation
We estimate minimum energy magnetic fields (Bmin) for asample of galaxies with measured gas surface densities, spanning morethan four orders of magnitude in surface density, from normal spirals toluminous starbursts. We show that the ratio of the minimum energymagnetic pressure to the total pressure in the ISM decreasessubstantially with increasing surface density. For the ultraluminousinfrared galaxy Arp 220, this ratio is ~10-4. Therefore, ifthe minimum energy estimate is applicable, magnetic fields in starburstsare dynamically weak compared to gravity, in contrast to normalstar-forming spiral galaxies. We argue, however, that rapid cooling ofrelativistic electrons in starbursts invalidates the minimum energyestimate. We assess a number of independent constraints on the magneticfield strength in starburst galaxies. In particular, we argue that theexistence of the FIR-radio correlation implies that the synchrotroncooling timescale for cosmic-ray electrons is much shorter than theirescape time from the galactic disk; this in turn implies that the truemagnetic field in starbursts is significantly larger thanBmin. The strongest argument against such large fields isthat one might expect starbursts to have steep radio spectra indicativeof strong synchrotron cooling, which is not observed. However, we showthat ionization and bremsstrahlung losses can flatten the nonthermalspectra of starburst galaxies even in the presence of rapid cooling,providing much better agreement with observed spectra. We furtherdemonstrate that ionization and bremsstrahlung losses are likely to beimportant in shaping the radio spectra of most starbursts at GHzfrequencies, thereby preserving the linearity of the FIR-radiocorrelation. We thus conclude that magnetic fields in starbursts aresignificantly larger than Bmin. We highlight severalobservations that can test this conclusion.

Using Line Profiles to Test the Fraternity of Type Ia Supernovae at High and Low Redshifts
Using archival data of low-redshift (z<0.01 Center for Astrophysicsand SUSPECT databases) Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) and recentobservations of high-redshift (0.161.7] SNe Ia, which are also subluminous. Inaddition, we give the first direct evidence in two high-z SN Ia spectraof a double-absorption feature in Ca II λ3945, an event alsoobserved, although infrequently, in low-redshift SN Ia spectra (6 out of22 SNe Ia in our local sample). Moreover, echoing the recent studies ofDessart & Hillier in the context of Type II supernovae (SNe II), wesee similar P Cygni line profiles in our large sample of SN Ia spectra.First, the magnitude of the velocity location at maximum profileabsorption may underestimate that at the continuum photosphere, asobserved, for example, in the optically thinner line S II λ5640.Second, we report for the first time the unambiguous and systematicintrinsic blueshift of peak emission of optical P Cygni line profiles inSN Ia spectra, by as much as 8000 km s-1. All the high-z SNeIa analyzed in this paper were discovered and followed up by the ESSENCEcollaboration and are now publicly available.Based in part on observations obtained at the Cerro TololoInter-American Observatory, which is operated by the Association ofUniversities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc., under cooperativeagreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF); the EuropeanSouthern Observatory, Chile (ESO program 170.A-0519) the GeminiObservatory, which is operated by AURA under a cooperative agreementwith the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership (the NSF [UnitedStates], the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [UnitedKingdom], the National Research Council [Canada], CONICYT [Chile], theAustralian Research Council [Australia], CNPq [Brazil], and CONICET[Argentina]) (programs GN-2002B-Q-14, GN-2003B-Q-11, and GS-2003B-Q-11)the Magellan Telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory; the MMTObservatory, a joint facility of the Smithsonian Institution and theUniversity of Arizona; and the F. L. Whipple Observatory, which isoperated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Some of the datapresented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which isoperated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute ofTechnology, the University of California, and the National Aeronauticsand Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by thegenerous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.

Low-Luminosity Active Galaxies and Their Central Black Holes
Central black hole masses for 117 spiral galaxies representingmorphological stages S0/a through Sc and taken from the largespectroscopic survey of Ho et al. are derived using Ks-banddata from the Two Micron All Sky Survey. Black hole masses are foundusing a calibrated black hole-Ks bulge luminosity relation,while bulge luminosities are measured by means of a two-dimensionalbulge-disk decomposition routine. The black hole masses are correlatedagainst a variety of parameters representing properties of the nucleusand host galaxy. Nuclear properties such as line width (FWHM [N II]), aswell as emission-line ratios (e.g., [O III]/Hβ, [O I]/Hα, [NII]/Hα, and [S II]/Hα), show a very high degree ofcorrelation with black hole mass. The excellent correlation with linewidth supports the view that the emission-line gas is in virialequilibrium with either the black hole or bulge potential. The very goodemission-line ratio correlations may indicate a change in ionizingcontinuum shape with black hole mass in the sense that more massiveblack holes generate harder spectra. Apart from theinclination-corrected rotational velocity, no excellent correlations arefound between black hole mass and host galaxy properties. Significantdifferences are found between the distributions of black hole masses inearly-, mid-, and late-type spiral galaxies (subsamples A, B, and C) inthe sense that early-type galaxies have preferentially larger centralblack holes, consistent with observations that Seyfert galaxies arefound preferentially in early-type systems. The line width distributionsshow a marked difference among subsamples A, B, and C in the sense thatearlier type galaxies have larger line widths. There are also cleardifferences in line ratios between subsamples A+B and C that likely arerelated to the level of ionization in the gas. Finally, aKs-band Simien & de Vaucouleurs diagram shows excellentagreement with the original B-band relation, although there is a largedispersion at a given morphological stage.

The extragalactic Cepheid bias: a new test using the period-luminosity-color relation
We use the Period-Luminosity-Color relation (PLC) for Cepheids to testfor the existence of a bias in extragalactic distances derived from theclassical Period-Luminosity (PL) relation. We calculate the parametersof the PLC using several galaxies observed with the Hubble SpaceTelescope and show that this calculation must be conducted with a PLCwritten in a form where the parameters are independent. The coefficientsthus obtained are similar to those derived from theoretical models.Calibrating with a few unbiased galaxies, we apply this PLC to allgalaxies of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Program (HSTKP) and comparethe distance moduli with those published by the HSTKP team. The newdistance moduli are larger (more exactly, the larger the distance thelarger the difference), consistent with a bias. Further, the bias trendthat is observed is the same previously obtained from two independentmethods based either on the local Hubble law or on a theoretical modelof the bias. The results are quite stable but when we force the PLCrelation closer to the classical PL relation by using unrealisticparameters, the agreement with HSTKP distance moduli is retrieved. Thisalso suggests that the PL relation leads to biased distance moduli. Thenew distance moduli reduce the scatter in the calibration of theabsolute magnitude of supernovae SNIa at their maximum. This may alsosuggest that the relation between the amplitude at maximum and the decayof the light curve Δ m15 may not be as strong asbelieved.

A radio census of nuclear activity in nearby galaxies
In order to determine the incidence of black hole accretion-drivennuclear activity in nearby galaxies, as manifested by their radioemission, we have carried out a high-resolution Multi-ElementRadio-Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) survey of LINERs andcomposite LINER/Hii galaxies from a complete magnitude-limited sample ofbright nearby galaxies (Palomar sample) with unknown arcsecond-scaleradio properties. There are fifteen radio detections, of which three arenew subarcsecond-scale radio core detections, all being candidate AGN.The detected galaxies supplement the already known low-luminosity AGN -low-luminosity Seyferts, LINERs and composite LINER/Hii galaxies - inthe Palomar sample. Combining all radio-detected Seyferts, LINERs andcomposite LINER/Hii galaxies (LTS sources), we obtain an overall radiodetection rate of 54% (22% of all bright nearby galaxies) and weestimate that at least ~50% (~20% of all bright nearby galaxies) aretrue AGN. The radio powers of the LTS galaxies allow the construction ofa local radio luminosity function. By comparing the luminosity functionwith those of selected moderate-redshift AGN, selected from the 2dF/NVSSsurvey, we find that LTS sources naturally extend the RLF of powerfulAGN down to powers of about 10 times that of Sgr A*.

How large are the bars in barred galaxies?
I present a study of the sizes (semimajor axes) of bars in discgalaxies, combining a detailed R-band study of 65 S0-Sb galaxies withthe B-band measurements of 70 Sb-Sd galaxies from Martin (1995). As hasbeen noted before with smaller samples, bars in early-type (S0-Sb)galaxies are clearly larger than bars in late-type (Sc-Sd) galaxies;this is true both for relative sizes (bar length as fraction ofisophotal radius R25 or exponential disc scalelength h) andabsolute sizes (kpc). S0-Sab bars extend to ~1-10 kpc (mean ~ 3.3 kpc),~0.2-0.8R25 (mean ~ 0.38R25) and ~0.5-2.5h (mean ~1.4h). Late-type bars extend to only ~0.5-3.5 kpc,~0.05-0.35R25 and 0.2-1.5h their mean sizes are ~1.5 kpc, ~0.14R25 and ~0.6h. Sb galaxies resemble earlier-type galaxiesin terms of bar size relative to h; their smallerR25-relative sizes may be a side effect of higher starformation, which increases R25 but not h. Sbc galaxies form atransition between the early- and late-type regimes. For S0-Sbcgalaxies, bar size correlates well with disc size (both R25and h); these correlations are stronger than the known correlation withMB. All correlations appear to be weaker or absent forlate-type galaxies; in particular, there seems to be no correlationbetween bar size and either h or MB for Sc-Sd galaxies.Because bar size scales with disc size and galaxy magnitude for mostHubble types, studies of bar evolution with redshift should selectsamples with similar distributions of disc size or magnitude(extrapolated to present-day values); otherwise, bar frequencies andsizes could be mis-estimated. Because early-type galaxies tend to havelarger bars, resolution-limited studies will preferentially find bars inearly-type galaxies (assuming no significant differential evolution inbar sizes). I show that the bars detected in Hubble Space Telescope(HST) near-infrared(IR) images at z~ 1 by Sheth et al. have absolutesizes consistent with those in bright, nearby S0-Sb galaxies. I alsocompare the sizes of real bars with those produced in simulations anddiscuss some possible implications for scenarios of secular evolutionalong the Hubble sequence. Simulations often produce bars as large as(or larger than) those seen in S0-Sb galaxies, but rarely any as smallas those in Sc-Sd galaxies.

Distance to NGC 253 based on the planetary nebula luminosity function
We identify a sample of 14 planetary nebulae in the nearby starburstdisc galaxy NGC 253, using broad- and narrow-band imaging. A simplemodel of the stellar and dust layers in the galaxy shows that planetarynebula magnitudes are not statistically affected much by extinction. Theluminosity function of the planetary nebulae is fitted with modelsaccounting for dust, which leads to a distance to NGC 253 ofμ0= 27.62+0.16-0.26 mag (d=3.34+0.26-0.38 Mpc). This new estimate is found tobe in agreement with the few existing distance estimates for this galaxywhen they are all set to a common Large Magellanic Cloud distance of18.50 mag. A weighted average of the most reliable distance estimatesyields a distance of μ0= 27.7 +/- 0.2 mag (d= 3.5 +/- 0.2Mpc).

Reflections on reflexions - I. Light echoes in Type Ia supernovae
In the last 10 yr, observational evidence has been steadily growingabout a possible connection between Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia)properties and the environment where they explode. In this paper, Idiscuss, from a theoretical point of view but with an observer'sperspective, the usage of light echoes (LEs) to probe the circumstellarmatter around SNe Ia because, in principle, they give us a uniqueopportunity for obtaining a three-dimensional description of the SNenvironment. In turn, this can be used to check the often suggestedassociation of some SNe Ia with dusty/star-forming regions, which wouldpoint to a young population for the progenitors. After giving a briefintroduction to the LE phenomenon in the single scatteringapproximation, I derive analytical and numerical solutions for theoptical light and colour curves for a few simple dust geometries. Afully three-dimensional multiple scattering treatment has also beenimplemented in a Monte Carlo (MC) code, which I have used to investigatethe effects of multiple scattering. In particular, I have explored indetail the LE colour dependency from time and dust distribution, becausethis is a promising tool to determine the dust density and derive theeffective presence of multiple scattering from the observed properties.Finally, again by means of Monte Carlo simulations, I have studied theeffects of multiple scattering on the LE linear polarization, analysingthe dependences from the dust parameters and geometry. Both theanalytical formalism and MC codes described in this paper can be usedfor any LE for which the light curve of the central source is known.

Dust in spiral galaxies: global properties
We present and analyse high-quality Submillimetre Common-User BolometerArray (SCUBA) 850- and 450-μm images of 14 local spiral galaxies,including the detection of dust well out into the extended disc in manycases. We use these data in conjunction with published far-infrared fluxdensities from IRAS and ISO, and millimetre-wave measurements fromground-based facilities to deduce the global properties of the dust inthese galaxies, in particular temperature and mass. We find that simpletwo-temperature greybody models of fixed dust emissivity index β= 2and with typical temperatures of 25 < Twarm < 40 K and10 < Tcold < 20 K provide good fits to the overallspectral energy distributions. The dust mass in the cold componentcorrelates with the mass in atomic hydrogen and the mass in the warmcomponent correlates with the mass in molecular hydrogen. These resultsthus fit the simple picture in which the cold dust is heatedpredominantly by the interstellar radiation field, while the hot dust isheated predominantly by OB stars in more active regions, although weargue that there is some mixing. The mean gas-to-dust mass ratio is 120+/- 60, very similar to that found within our own galaxy and roughly afactor of 10 lower than that derived from IRAS data alone. Thegas-to-dust mass ratios in the warm, molecular component are on averagehigher than those in the cold, atomic component. We compare ourmodelling results with similar results for more luminous spiral galaxiesselected at far-infrared wavelengths by the SCUBA Local Universe GalaxySurvey. We find that whilst the total dust mass distributions of the twosamples are indistinguishable, they have significantly different dusttemperature distributions in both the warm and cold components. Wesuggest that this difference might be related to the level of starformation activity in these systems, with the more active galaxieshaving more intense interstellar radiation fields and higher dusttemperatures.

Stellar Population Analysis of Galaxies based on Genetic Algorithms
We present a new method for determining the age and relativecontribution of different stellar populations in galaxies based on thegenetic algorithm. We apply this method to the barred spiral galaxy NGC3384, using CCD images in U, B, V, R and I bands. This analysisindicates that the galaxy NGC 3384 is mainly inhabited by old stellarpopulation (age >109 yr). Some problems were encounteredwhen numerical simulations are used for determining the contribution ofdifferent stellar populations in the integrated color of a galaxy. Theresults show that the proposed genetic algorithm can search efficientlythrough the very large space of the possible ages.

Chemistry and Star Formation in the Host Galaxies of Type Ia Supernovae
We study the effect of environment on the properties of Type Iasupernovae by analyzing the integrated spectra of 57 local Type Iasupernova host galaxies. We deduce from the spectra the metallicity,current star formation rate, and star formation history of the host andcompare these to the supernova decline rates. Additionally, we comparethe host properties to the difference between the derived supernovadistance and the distance determined from the best-fit Hubble law. Fromthis we investigate possible uncorrected systematic effects inherent inthe calibration of Type Ia supernova luminosities using light-curvefitting techniques. Our results indicate a statistically insignificantcorrelation in the direction of higher metallicity spiral galaxieshosting fainter Type Ia supernovae. However, we present qualitativeevidence suggesting that progenitor age is more likely to be the sourceof variability in supernova peak luminosities than is metallicity. We donot find a correlation between the supernova decline rate and hostgalaxy absolute B magnitude, nor do we find evidence of a significantrelationship between decline rate and current host galaxy star formationrate. A tenuous correlation is observed between the supernova Hubbleresiduals and host galaxy metallicities. Further host galaxyobservations will be needed to refine the significance of this result.Finally, we characterize the environmental property distributions forType Ia supernova host galaxies through a comparison with two larger,more general galaxy distributions using Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests. Theresults show the host galaxy metallicity distribution to be similar tothe metallicity distributions of the galaxies of the NFGS and SDSS.Significant differences are observed between the SN Ia distributions ofabsolute B magnitude and star formation histories and the correspondingdistributions of galaxies in the NFGS and SDSS. Among these is an abruptupper limit observed in the distribution of star formation histories ofthe host galaxy sample, suggesting a Type Ia supernovae characteristicdelay time lower limit of approximately 2.0 Gyr. Other distributiondiscrepancies are investigated and the effects on the supernovaproperties are discussed.

Secular Evolution via Bar-driven Gas Inflow: Results from BIMA SONG
We present an analysis of the molecular gas distributions in the 29barred and 15 unbarred spirals in the BIMA CO (J=1-0) Survey of NearbyGalaxies (SONG). For galaxies that are bright in CO, we confirm theconclusion by Sakamoto et al. that barred spirals have higher moleculargas concentrations in the central kiloparsec. The SONG sample alsoincludes 27 galaxies below the CO brightness limit used by Sakamoto etal. Even in these less CO-bright galaxies we show that high central gasconcentrations are more common in barred galaxies, consistent withradial inflow driven by the bar. However, there is a significantpopulation of early-type (Sa-Sbc) barred spirals (6 of 19) that have nomolecular gas detected in the nuclear region and have very little out tothe bar corotation radius. This suggests that in barred galaxies withgas-deficient nuclear regions, the bar has already driven most of thegas within the bar corotation radius to the nuclear region, where it hasbeen consumed by star formation. The median mass of nuclear moleculargas is over 4 times higher in early-type bars than in late-type (Sc-Sdm)bars. Since previous work has shown that the gas consumption rate is anorder of magnitude higher in early-type bars, this implies that theearly types have significantly higher bar-driven inflows. The loweraccretion rates in late-type bars can probably be attributed to theknown differences in bar structure between early and late types. Despitethe evidence for bar-driven inflows in both early and late Hubble-typespirals, the data indicate that it is highly unlikely for a late-typegalaxy to evolve into an early type via bar-induced gas inflow.Nonetheless, secular evolutionary processes are undoubtedly present, andpseudobulges are inevitable; evidence for pseudobulges is likely to beclearest in early-type galaxies because of their high gas inflow ratesand higher star formation activity.

The Stellar Populations in the Central Parsecs of Galactic Bulges
We present Hubble Space Telescope blue spectra at intermediate spectralresolution for the nuclei of 23 nearby disk galaxies. These objects wereselected to have nebular emission in their nuclei and span a range ofemission-line classifications, as well as Hubble types. In this paper wefocus on the stellar population as revealed by the continuum spectralenergy distribution measured within the central 0.13" (~8 pc) of thesegalaxies. The data were modeled with linear combinations of single-agestellar population synthesis models. The large majority (~80%) of thesurveyed nuclei have spectra whose features are consistent with apredominantly old (>~5×109 yr) stellar population.Approximately 25% of these nuclei show evidence of a component with ageyounger than 1 Gyr, with the incidence of these stars related to thenebular classification. Successful model fits imply an average reddeningcorresponding to AV~0.4 mag and a stellar metallicity of1-2.5 Zsolar. We discuss the implications of these resultsfor understanding the star formation history in the environment ofquiescent and active supermassive black holes. Our findings reinforcethe picture wherein Seyfert nuclei and the majority of low-ionizationnuclear emission-line regions are predominantly accretion-powered andsuggest that much of the central star formation in H II nuclei isactually circumnuclear.Based on observations obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, which isoperated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.

The Hubble Space Telescope View of LINER Nuclei: Evidence for a Dual Population?
We study a complete, distance-limited sample of 25 LINERs, 21 of whichhave been imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope. In nine objects wedetect an unresolved nucleus. To study their physical properties, wecompare the radio and optical properties of the nuclei of LINERs withthose of other samples of local active galactic nuclei (AGNs), namely,Seyfert galaxies and low-luminosity radio galaxies (LLRGs). Our resultsshow that the LINER population is not homogeneous, as there are twosubclasses: (1) the first class is similar to the LLRG class, as itextends the population of radio-loud nuclei to lower luminosities; (2)the second is similar to Seyfert galaxies and extends the properties ofradio-quiet nuclei toward the lowest luminosities. The objects areoptimally discriminated in the plane formed by the black hole massversus nuclear radio loudness: all radio-loud LINERs haveMBH>~108Msolar, while Seyfertgalaxies and radio-quiet LINERs haveMBH<~108Msolar. The different natureof the various classes of local AGNs are best understood when thefraction of the Eddington luminosity they irradiate,Lo/LEdd, is plotted against the nuclearradio-loudness parameter: Seyfert galaxies are associated withrelatively high radiative efficienciesLo/LEdd>~10-4 (and high accretionrates onto low-mass black holes); LLRGs are associated with lowradiative efficiencies (and low accretion rates onto high-mass blackholes); all LINERs have low radiative efficiency (and accretion rates)and can be radio-loud or radio-quiet, depending on their black holemass.Based on observations obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute,which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research inAstronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.

The Murmur of the Sleeping Black Hole: Detection of Nuclear Ultraviolet Variability in LINER Galaxies
LINER nuclei, which are present in many nearby galactic bulges, may bethe manifestation of low-rate or low-radiative-efficiency accretion ontosupermassive central black holes. However, it has been unclear whetherthe compact UV nuclear sources present in many LINERs are clusters ofmassive stars, rather than being directly related to the accretionprocess. We have used the Hubble Space Telescope to monitor the UVvariability of a sample of 17 galaxies with LINER nuclei and compactnuclear UV sources. Fifteen of the 17 galaxies were observed more thanonce, with two to five epochs per galaxy, spanning up to a year. Wedetect significant variability in most of the sample, with peak-to-peakamplitudes from a few percent to 50%. In most cases, correlatedvariations are seen in two independent bands (F250W and F330W).Comparison to previous UV measurements indicates, for many objects,long-term variations by factors of a few over decade timescales.Variability is detected in LINERs with and without detected compactradio cores, in LINERs that have broad Hα wings detected in theiroptical spectra (``LINER 1s''), and in those that do not (``LINER 2s'').This variability demonstrates the existence of a nonstellar component inthe UV continuum of all types and sets a lower limit to the luminosityof this component. Interestingly, all the LINERs that have detectedradio cores have variable UV nuclei, as one would expect from bona fideactive galactic nuclei. We note a trend in the UV color (F250W/F330W)with spectral type-LINER 1s tend to be bluer than LINER 2s. This trendmay indicate a link between the shape of the nonstellar continuum andthe presence or the visibility of a broad-line region. In one target,the poststarburst galaxy NGC 4736, we detect variability in a previouslynoted UV source that is offset by 2.5" (~60 pc in projection) from thenucleus. This may be the nearest example of a binary active nucleus andof the process leading to black hole merging.Based on observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, which is operatedby AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

Reddening, Absorption, and Decline Rate Corrections for a Complete Sample of Type Ia Supernovae Leading to a Fully Corrected Hubble Diagram to v < 30,000 km s-1
Photometric (BVI) and redshift data corrected for streaming motions arecompiled for 111 ``Branch-normal,'' four 1991T-like, seven 1991bg-like,and two unusual supernovae of Type Ia (SNe Ia). Color excessesE(B-V)host of normal SNe Ia, due to the absorption of thehost galaxy, are derived by three independent methods, giving excellentagreement leading to the intrinsic colors at maximum of(B-V)00=-0.024+/-0.010 and (V-I)00=-0.265+/-0.016if normalized to a common decline rate of Δm15=1.1. Thestrong correlation between redshift absolute magnitudes (based on anarbitrary Hubble constant of H0=60 km s-1Mpc-1), corrected only for the extrinsic Galactic absorption,and the derived E(B-V)host color excesses leads to thewell-determined yet abnormal absorption-to-reddening ratios ofRBVI=3.65+/-0.16, 2.65+/-0.15, and 1.35+/-0.21.Comparison with the canonical Galactic values of 4.1, 3.1, and 1.8forces the conclusion that the law of interstellar absorption in thepath length to the SN in the host galaxy is different from the localGalactic law, a result consistent with earlier conclusions by others.Improved correlations of the fully corrected absolute magnitudes (on thesame arbitrary Hubble constant zero point) with host galaxymorphological type, decline rate, and intrinsic color are derived. Werecover the result that SNe Ia in E/S0 galaxies are ~0.3 mag fainterthan in spiral galaxies for possible reasons discussed in the text. Thenew decline rate corrections to absolute magnitudes are smaller thanthose by some authors for reasons explained in the text. The fourspectroscopically peculiar 1991T-type SNe are significantly overluminousas compared to Branch-normal SNe Ia. The overluminosity of the seven1999aa-like SNe is less pronounced. The seven 1991bg types in the sampleconstitute a separate class of SNe Ia, averaging in B 2 mag fainter thanthe normal Ia. New Hubble diagrams in B, V, and I are derived out to~30,000 km s-1 using the fully corrected magnitudes andvelocities, corrected for streaming motions. Nine solutions for theintercept magnitudes in these diagrams show extreme stability at the0.02 mag level using various subsamples of the data for both low andhigh extinctions in the sample, proving the validity of the correctionsfor host galaxy absorption. We shall use the same precepts for fullycorrecting SN magnitudes for the luminosity recalibration of SNe Ia inthe forthcoming final review of our Hubble Space Telescope Cepheid-SNexperiment for the Hubble constant.

Nuclear Accretion in Galaxies of the Local Universe: Clues from Chandra Observations
In order to find an explanation for the radiative quiescence ofsupermassive black holes in the local universe, the most accurateestimates for a sample of nearby galaxies are collected for the mass ofa central black hole (MBH), the nuclear X-ray luminosityLX,nuc, and the circumnuclear hot gas density andtemperature, by using Chandra data. The nuclear X-ray luminosityLX,nuc varies by ~3 orders of magnitude and does not show arelationship with MBH or with the Bondi mass accretion rateM˙B LX,nuc is always much lower than expectedif M˙B ends in a standard accretion disk with highradiative efficiency (this instead can be the case of the active nucleusof Cen A). Radiatively inefficient accretion as in the standardadvection-dominated accretion flow (ADAF) modeling may explain the lowluminosities of a few cases; for others, the predicted luminosity isstill too high, and, in terms of Eddington-scaled quantities, it isincreasingly higher than that observed for increasingM˙B. Variants of the simple radiatively inefficientscenario including outflow and convection may reproduce the low emissionlevels observed, since the amount of matter actually accreted is reducedconsiderably. However, the most promising scenario includes feedbackfrom accretion on the surrounding gas; this has the important advantagesof naturally explaining the observed lack of relationship amongLX,nuc, MBH, and M˙B, and evadingthe problem of the fate of the material accumulating in the centralgalactic regions over cosmological times.

A Chandra Snapshot Survey of Infrared-bright LINERs: A Possible Link Between Star Formation, Active Galactic Nucleus Fueling, and Mass Accretion
We present results from a high-resolution X-ray imaging study of nearbyLINERs observed by ACIS on board Chandra. This study complements andextends previous X-ray studies of LINERs, focusing on the underexploredpopulation of nearby dust-enshrouded infrared-bright LINERs. The sampleconsists of 15 IR-bright LINERs (LFIR/LB>3),with distances that range from 11 to 26 Mpc. Combining our sample withprevious Chandra studies, we find that ~51% (28/55) of the LINERsdisplay compact hard X-ray cores. The nuclear 2-10 keV luminosities ofthe galaxies in this expanded sample range from ~2×1038to ~2×1044 ergs s-1. We find that the mostextreme IR-faint LINERs are exclusively active galactic nuclei (AGNs).The fraction of LINERs containing AGNs appears to decrease with IRbrightness and increase again at the highest values ofLFIR/LB. We find that of the 24 LINERs showingcompact nuclear hard X-ray cores in the expanded sample that wereobserved at Hα wavelengths, only eight actually show evidence of abroad line. Similarly, of the 14 LINERs showing compact nuclear hardX-ray cores with corresponding radio observations, only eight display acompact flat spectrum radio core. These findings emphasize the need forhigh-resolution X-ray imaging observations in the study of IR-brightLINERs. Finally, we find an intriguing trend in the Eddington ratioversus LFIR and LFIR/LB for theAGN-LINERs in the expanded sample that extends over 7 orders ofmagnitude in L/LEdd. This correlation may imply a linkbetween black hole growth, as measured by the Eddington ratio, and thestar formation rate, as measured by the far-IR luminosity andIR-brightness ratio. If the far-IR luminosity is an indicator of themolecular gas content in our sample of LINERs, our results may furtherindicate that the mass accretion rate scales with the host galaxy's fuelsupply. We discuss the potential implications of our results in theframework of black hole growth and AGN fueling in low-luminosity AGNs.

Hα Imaging of Early-Type Sa-Sab Spiral Galaxies. II. Global Properties
New results, based on one of the most comprehensive Hα imagingsurveys of nearby Sa-Sab spirals completed to date, reveals early-typespirals to be a diverse group of galaxies that span a wide range inmassive star formation rates. While the majority of Sa-Sab galaxies inour sample are forming stars at a modest rate, a significant fraction(~29%) exhibit star formation rates greater than 1 Msolaryr-1, rivaling the most prolifically star-forming late-typespirals. A similar diversity is apparent in the star formation historyof Sa-Sab spirals as measured by their Hα equivalent widths.Consistent with our preliminary results presented in the first paper inthis series, we find giant H II regions [L(Hα)>=1039ergs s-1] in the disks of ~37% of early-type spirals. Wesuspect that recent minor mergers or past interactions are responsiblefor the elevated levels of Hα emission and, perhaps, for thepresence of giant H II regions in these galaxies. Our results, however,are not in total agreement with the Hα study of Kennicutt &Kent, who did not find any early-type spirals with Hα equivalentwidths >14 Å. A close examination of the morphologicalclassification of galaxies, however, suggests that systematicdifferences between the Revised Shapley-Ames Catalog and the SecondReference Catalogue may be responsible for the contrasting results.Based on observations obtained with the 3.5 m telescope at Apache PointObservatory (APO) and the 0.9 m telescope at Kitt Peak NationalObservatory (KPNO). The APO 3.5 m telescope is owned and operated by theAstrophysical Research Consortium.

The Local Group and Other Neighboring Galaxy Groups
Over the last few years, rapid progress has been made in distancemeasurements for nearby galaxies based on the magnitude of stars on thetip of the red giant branch. Current CCD surveys with the Hubble SpaceTelescope (HST) and large ground-based telescopes bring ~10% accuratedistances for roughly a hundred galaxies within 5 Mpc. The new data ondistances to galaxies situated in (and around) the nearest groups-theLocal Group, M81 Group, Cen A/M83 Group, IC 342/Maffei Group, Sculptorfilament, and Canes Venatici cloud-allowed us to determine their totalmass from the radius of the zero-velocity surface, R0, whichseparates a group as bound against the homogeneous cosmic expansion. Thevalues of R0 for the virialized groups turn out to be closeeach other, in the range of 0.9-1.3 Mpc. As a result, the total massesof the groups are close to each other, as well, yielding total mass toblue luminosity ratios of 10-40 MsolarL-1solar. The new total mass estimates are 3-5times lower than old virial mass estimates of these groups. Becauseabout half of galaxies in the Local volume belong to such loose groups,the revision of the amount of dark matter (DM) leads to a low localdensity of matter, Ωm~=0.04, which is comparable withthe global baryonic fraction Ωb but much lower than theglobal density of matter, Ωm=0.27. To remove thediscrepancy between the global and local quantities ofΩm, we assume the existence of two different DMcomponents: (1) compact dark halos around individual galaxies and (2) anonbaryonic dark matter ``ocean'' with ΩDM1~=0.07 andΩDM2~=0.20, respectively.Based in part on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble SpaceTelescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which isoperated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy,Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

CO in the Bipolar Radio Continuum Galaxy NGC 3367
CO(1-0) emission has been imaged at 2" resolution in the central 10 kpcof the barred spiral galaxy NGC 3367. This galaxy has bipolarsynchrotron lobes out to a radius of 6 kpc, straddling the compactnucleus. The peak molecular emission is in a source of radius 2" (425pc) centered on the galaxy nucleus. The molecular gas mass is~3×108 Msolar in this peak and~5.9×108 Msolar within a radius of 4.5" (950pc). The very large gas masses in the central source imply extinctionssufficiently high to completely obscure optical emission lines (e.g.,broad-line region) associated with the nuclear radio source. Theobserved Balmer lines probably originate in the narrow-line region a fewhundred parsecs from the nucleus. The CO emission in the central regionis elongated northeast-southwest, very similar to the position angle ofthe large-scale synchrotron lobes. This elongation is likely due to thenonaxisymmetric gravitational potential of the stellar bar. We inferthat the northeast radio continuum lobe is on the far side of the galaxyand the southwest lobe is on the near side. The central mass ofmolecular gas is of sufficient mass to power the active galactic nucleusaccretion luminosity for over 108 yr at 3 Msolaryr-1.

The extragalactic Cepheid bias: significant influence on the cosmic distance scale
The unique measurements with the Hubble Space Telescope of Cepheidvariable stars in nearby galaxies led to extragalactic distances thatmade the HST Key Project conclude that the Hubble constant isH0 = 72 km s-1 Mpc-1. The idea thatH0 is now known is widely spread among the astronomicalcommunity. Some time ago, we suggested that a strong selection effectmay still exist in the Cepheid method, resulting in too short distances.Using a model similar to traditional bias corrections, we deduce herenew estimates of distances from HST and previous ground-basedobservations which are both affected by this effect, showing the sametrend which starts at different distances. The recent measurement of M83 with the VLT is unbiased. Revisiting the calibration of HSTKP's withour new scale, makes long-range distance criteria more concordant andreduces the value of H0 to ≈60 km s-1Mpc-1. Locally, the corrected Cepheid distances giveHlocal=56 km s-1 Mpc-1 and reduce thevelocity dispersion in the Hubble flow. These numbers are indicative ofthe influence of the suggested Cepheid bias in the context of the HSTKPstudies and are not final values.

The Leo Triplet: Common origin or late encounter?
The kinematics, structure, and stellar population properties in thecenters of two early-type spiral galaxies of the Leo Triplet, NGC 3627and NGC 3623, are studied by means of integral-field spectroscopy.Unlike our previous targets, NGC 3384/NGC 3368 in the Leo I Group andNGC 5574/NGC 5576 in LGG 379, NGC 3623 and NGC 3627 do not appear toexperience a synchronous evolution. The mean ages of their circumnuclearstellar populations are quite different, and the magnesium overabundanceof the nucleus in NGC 3627 is evidence for a very brief last starformation event 1 Gyr ago whereas the evolution of the central part ofNGC 3623 looks more quiescent. In the center of NGC 3627 we observenoticeable gas radial motions, and the stars and the ionized gas in thecenter of NGC 3623 demonstrate more or less stable rotation. However,NGC 3623 has a chemically distinct core - a relic of a past starformation burst - which is shaped as a compact, dynamically cold stellardisk with a radius of ˜250-350 pc which has been formed not laterthan 5 Gyr ago.Based on observations collected with the 6 m telescope of the SpecialAstrophysical Observatory (SAO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)which is operated under the financial support of Science Department ofRussia (registration number 01-43) and on data from the Isaac NewtonGroup (ING) and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Archives.

Structure and star formation in disk galaxies. III. Nuclear and circumnuclear Hα emission
From Hα images of a carefully selected sample of 57 relativelylarge, Northern spiral galaxies with low inclination, we study thedistribution of the Hα emission in the circumnuclear and nuclearregions. At a resolution of around 100 parsec, we find that the nuclearHα emission in the sample galaxies is often peaked, andsignificantly more often so among AGN host galaxies. The circumnuclearHα emission, within a radius of two kpc, is often patchy inlate-type, and absent or in the form of a nuclear ring in early-typegalaxies. There is no clear correlation of nuclear or circumnuclearHα morphology with the presence or absence of a bar in the hostgalaxy, except for the nuclear rings which occur in barred hosts. Thepresence or absence of close bright companion galaxies does not affectthe circumnuclear Hα morphology, but their presence does correlatewith a higher fraction of nuclear Hα peaks. Nuclear rings occur inat least 21% (±5%) of spiral galaxies, and occur predominantly ingalaxies also hosting an AGN. Only two of our 12 nuclear rings occur ina galaxy which is neither an AGN nor a starburst host. We confirm thatweaker bars host larger nuclear rings. The implications of these resultson our understanding of the occurrence and morphology of massive starformation, as well as non-stellar activity, in the central regions ofgalaxies are discussed.

Cepheid calibration of Type Ia supernovae and the Hubble constant
We investigate how a different calibration of the Cepheidperiod-luminosity (PL) relation, taking into account metallicitycorrections, affects the absolute magnitude calibration of Type Iasupernovae (SNe Ia) and, in turn, the determination of the Hubbleconstant H0. We use SN Ia light curves from the literatureand previously unpublished data to establish theMB-Δm15(B) relation, and calibrate the zeropoint by means of nine SNe Ia with Cepheid-measured distances. Thisrelation is then used to establish the Hubble diagram, and in turn toderive H0. In the attempt to correct for the host-galaxyextinction, we find that the data suggest a value for the total toselective absorption ratio of RB= 3.5, which is smaller thanthe standard value for our own Galaxy of RB= 4.315.Depending on the metallicity correction for the Cepheid PL relation, thevalue of RB, and SN sample selection criteria, the value ofthe Hubble constant H0 takes a value in the range 68-74 kms-1 Mpc-1, with associated uncertainties of theorder of 10 per cent.Unpublished photometry is also presented for 18 SNe of our sample(1991S, 1991T, 1992A, 1992K, 1993H, 1993L, 1994D, 1994M, 1994ae, 1995D,1995ac, 1995bd, 1996bo, 1997bp, 1997br, 1999aa, 1999dk, 2000cx). Thesedata are the results of a long-standing effort in supernova monitoringat ESO - La Silla and Asiago observatories.

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Right ascension:10h46m48.00s
Apparent magnitude:9.1

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MessierM 96
NGC 2000.0NGC 3368

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