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Photometric observations of Supernovae 2000E, 2001B, 2001V, and 2001X
CCD BVRI photometry is presented for two type Ia supernovae 2000E and2001V, for SN Ib 2001B and SN II-P 2001X. The parameters of light curvesand absolute magnitudes at maximum light are estimated. It is shown thatall four supernovae are typical for their classes considering the shapeof their light curves and maximum luminosity.

Lifetime of nuclear velocity dispersion drops in barred galaxies
We have made hydro/N-body simulations with and without star formation toshed some light on the conditions under which a central kinematicallycold stellar component (characterized by a velocity dispersion drop orσ-drop) could be created in a hot medium (e.g. a bulge) andsurvive enough time to be observed. We found that the time-scale for aσ-drop formation could be short (less than 500 Myr), whereas itslifetime could be long (more than 1 Gyr) provided that the centralregion is continuously or regularly fed by fresh gas which leads to acontinuous star formation activity. Star formation in the centralregion, even at a low rate as 1Msolaryr-1, ismandatory to sustain a permanent σ-drop by replacing heatedparticles by new low-σ ones. We moreover show that as soon as starformation is switched off, the σ-drop begins to disappear.

Scale Heights of Non-Edge-on Spiral Galaxies
We present a method of calculating the scale height of non-edge-onspiral galaxies, together with a formula for errors. The method is basedon solving Poisson's equation for a logarithmic disturbance of matterdensity in spiral galaxies. We show that the spiral arms can not extendto inside the ``forbidden radius'' r0, due to the effect ofthe finite thickness of the disk. The method is tested by re-calculatingthe scale heights of 71 northern spiral galaxies previously calculatedby Ma, Peng & Gu. Our results differ from theirs by less than 9%. Wealso present the scale heights of a further 23 non-edge-on spiralgalaxies.

On the X-ray, optical emission line and black hole mass properties of local Seyfert galaxies
We investigate the relation between X-ray nuclear emission, opticalemission line luminosities and black hole masses for a sample of 47Seyfert galaxies. The sample, which has been selected from the Palomaroptical spectroscopic survey of nearby galaxies (Ho et al. 1997a, ApJS,112, 315), covers a wide range of nuclear powers, from L2-10keV ~ 1043 erg/s down to very low luminosities(L2-10 keV ~ 1038 erg/s). Best available data fromChandra, XMM-Newton and, in a few cases, ASCA observations have beenconsidered. Thanks to the good spatial resolution available from theseobservations and a proper modeling of the various spectral components,it has been possible to obtain accurate nuclear X-ray luminosities notcontaminated by off-nuclear sources and/or diffuse emission. X-rayluminosities have then been corrected taking into account the likelycandidate Compton thick sources, which are a high fraction (>30%)among type 2 Seyferts in our sample. The main result of this study isthat we confirm strong linear correlations between 2-10 keV,[OIII]λ5007, Hα luminosities which show the same slope asquasars and luminous Seyfert galaxies, independent of the level ofnuclear activity displayed. Moreover, despite the wide range ofEddington ratios (L/L_Edd) tested here (six orders of magnitude, from0.1 down to ~10-7), no correlation is found between the X-rayor optical emission line luminosities and the black hole mass. Ourresults suggest that Seyfert nuclei in our sample are consistent withbeing a scaled-down version of more luminous AGN.

The Hα Galaxy Survey . III. Constraints on supernova progenitors from spatial correlations with Hα emission
Aims.We attempt to constrain progenitors of the different types ofsupernovae from their spatial distributions relative to star formationregions in their host galaxies, as traced by Hα + [Nii] lineemission. Methods: .We analyse 63 supernovae which have occurredwithin galaxies from our Hα survey of the local Universe. Threestatistical tests are used, based on pixel statistics, Hα radialgrowth curves, and total galaxy emission-line fluxes. Results:.Many type II supernovae come from regions of low or zero emission lineflux, and more than would be expected if the latter accurately traceshigh-mass star formation. We interpret this excess as a 40% "Runaway"fraction in the progenitor stars. Supernovae of types Ib and Ic doappear to trace star formation activity, with a much higher fractioncoming from the centres of bright star formation regions than is thecase for the type II supernovae. Type Ia supernovae overall show a weakcorrelation with locations of current star formation, but there isevidence that a significant minority, up to about 40%, may be linked tothe young stellar population. The radial distribution of allcore-collapse supernovae (types Ib, Ic and II) closely follows that ofthe line emission and hence star formation in their host galaxies, apartfrom a central deficiency which is less marked for supernovae of typesIb and Ic than for those of type II. Core-collapse supernova ratesoverall are consistent with being proportional to galaxy totalluminosities and star formation rates; however, within this total thetype Ib and Ic supernovae show a moderate bias towards more luminoushost galaxies, and type II supernovae a slight bias towardslower-luminosity hosts.

Massive star formation in the central regions of spiral galaxies
Context: . The morphology of massive star formation in the centralregions of galaxies is an important tracer of the dynamical processesthat govern the evolution of disk, bulge, and nuclear activity. Aims. Wepresent optical imaging of the central regions of a sample of 73 spiralgalaxies in the Hα line and in optical broad bands, and deriveinformation on the morphology of massive star formation. Methods. Weobtained images with the William Herschel Telescope, mostly at a spatialresolution of below one second of arc. For most galaxies, no Hαimaging is available in the literature. We outline the observing anddata reduction procedures, list basic properties, and present the I-bandand continuum-subtracted Hα images. We classify the morphology ofthe nuclear and circumnuclear Hα emission and explore trends withhost galaxy parameters. Results. We confirm that late-type galaxies havea patchy circumnuclear appearance in Hα, and that nuclear ringsoccur primarily in spiral types Sa-Sbc. We identify a number ofpreviously unknown nuclear rings, and confirm that nuclear rings arepredominantly hosted by barred galaxies. Conclusions. Other than instimulating nuclear rings, bars do not influence the relative strengthof the nuclear Hα peak, nor the circumnuclear Hα morphology.Even considering that our selection criteria led to an over-abundance ofgalaxies with close massive companions, we do not find any significantinfluence of the presence or absence of a close companion on therelative strength of the nuclear Hα peak, nor on the Hαmorphology around the nucleus.

An atlas of calcium triplet spectra of active galaxies
We present a spectroscopic atlas of active galactic nuclei covering theregion around the λλ8498, 8542, 8662 calcium triplet(CaT). The sample comprises 78 objects, divided into 43 Seyfert 2s, 26Seyfert 1s, three starburst and six normal galaxies. The spectra pertainto the inner ~300 pc in radius, and thus sample the central kinematicsand stellar populations of active galaxies. The data are used to measurestellar velocity dispersions (σ*) with bothcross-correlation and direct fitting methods. These measurements arefound to be in good agreement with each other and with those in previousstudies for objects in common. The CaT equivalent width is alsomeasured. We find average values and sample dispersions ofWCaT of 4.6 +/- 2.0, 7.0 +/- 1.0 and 7.7 +/- 1.0 Å forSeyfert 1s, Seyfert 2s and normal galaxies, respectively. We furtherpresent an atlas of [SIII]λ9069 emission-line profiles for asubset of 40 galaxies. These data are analysed in a companion paperwhich addresses the connection between stellar and narrow-line regionkinematics, the behaviour of the CaT equivalent width as a function ofσ*, activity type and stellar population properties.

A radio study of the superwind galaxy NGC 1482
We present multifrequency radio continuum as well as HI observations ofthe superwind galaxy NGC 1482, with both the Giant Metrewave RadioTelescope (GMRT) and the Very Large Array (VLA). This galaxy has aremarkable hourglass-shaped optical emission-line outflow as well asbipolar soft X-ray bubbles on opposite sides of the galactic disc. Thelow-frequency, lower-resolution radio observations show a smoothstructure. From the non-thermal emission, we estimate the availableenergy in supernovae, and examine whether this would be adequate todrive the observed superwind outflow. The high-frequency,high-resolution radio image of the central starburst region located atthe base of the superwind bi-cone shows one prominent peak and moreextended emission with substructure. This image has been compared withthe infrared, optical red continuum, Hα, and soft and hard X-rayimages from Chandra to understand the nature and relationship of thevarious features seen at different wavelengths. The peak of the infraredemission is the only feature that is coincident with the prominent radiopeak, and possibly defines the centre of the galaxy.The HI observations with the GMRT show two blobs of emission on oppositesides of the central region. These are rotating about the centre of thegalaxy and are located at ~2.4 kpc from it. In addition, theseobservations also reveal a multicomponent HI absorption profile againstthe central region of the radio source, with a total width of ~250 kms-1. The extreme blue- and redshifted absorption componentsare at 1688 and 1942 km s-1, respectively, while the peakabsorption is at 1836 km s-1. This is consistent with theheliocentric systemic velocity of 1850 +/- 20 km s-1,estimated from a variety of observations. We discuss possibleimplications of these results.

The stellar populations of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei - III. Spatially resolved spectral properties
In a recently completed survey of the stellar population properties oflow-ionization nuclear emission-line regions (LINERs) and LINER/HIItransition objects (TOs), we have identified a numerous class ofgalactic nuclei which stand out because of their conspicuous108-9 yr populations, traced by high-order Balmer absorptionlines and other stellar indices. These objects are called `young-TOs',because they all have TO-like emission-line ratios. In this paper weextend this previous work, which concentrated on the nuclear properties,by investigating the radial variations of spectral properties inlow-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGNs). Our analysis is based onhigh signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) long-slit spectra in the 3500-5500Å interval for a sample of 47 galaxies. The data probe distancesof typically up to 850 pc from the nucleus with a resolution of ~100 pc(~1 arcsec) and S/N ~ 30. Stellar population gradients are mapped by theradial profiles of absorption-line equivalent widths and continuumcolours along the slit. These variations are further analysed by meansof a decomposition of each spectrum in terms of template galaxiesrepresentative of very young (<=107 yr), intermediate age(108-9 yr) and old (1010 yr) stellar populations.This study reveals that young-TOs also differ from old-TOs andold-LINERs in terms of the spatial distributions of their stellarpopulations and dust. Specifically, our main findings are as follows.(i) Significant stellar population gradients are found almostexclusively in young-TOs. (ii) The intermediate age population ofyoung-TOs, although heavily concentrated in the nucleus, reachesdistances of up to a few hundred pc from the nucleus. Nevertheless, thehalf width at half-maximum of its brightness profile is more typically100 pc or less. (iii) Objects with predominantly old stellar populationspresent spatially homogeneous spectra, be they LINERs or TOs. (iv)Young-TOs have much more dust in their central regions than otherLLAGNs. (v) The B-band luminosities of the central <~1 Gyr populationin young-TOs are within an order of magnitude of MB=-15,implying masses of the order of ~107-108Msolar. This population was 10-100 times more luminous in itsformation epoch, at which time young massive stars would have completelyoutshone any active nucleus, unless the AGN too was brighter in thepast.

The SCORPIO Universal Focal Reducer of the 6-m Telescope
We describe the SCORPIO focal reducer that has been used since the fallof 2000 for observations on the 6-m Special Astrophysical Observatorytelescope. We give parameters of the instrument in various observingmodes (direct imaging, long-slit and multislit spectroscopy,spectropolarimetry, Fabry-Perot panoramic spectroscopy). Observations ofvarious astronomical objects are used as examples to demonstrate theSCORPIO capabilities.

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.

The Central Region of Barred Galaxies: Molecular Environment, Starbursts, and Secular Evolution
Stellar bars drive gas into the circumnuclear (CN) region of galaxies.To investigate the fate of the CN gas and star formation (SF), we studya sample of barred nonstarbursts and starbursts with high-resolution CO,optical, Hα, radio continuum, Brγ, and HST data, and findthe following. (1) The inner kiloparsec of bars differs markedly fromthe outer disk. It hosts molecular gas surface densitiesΣgas-m of 500-3500 Msolar pc-2,gas mass fractions of 10%-30%, and epicyclic frequencies of several100-1000 km s-1 kpc-1. Consequently, in the CNregion gravitational instabilities can only grow at high gas densitiesand on short timescales, explaining in part why powerful starburstsreside there. (2) Across the sample, we find bar pattern speeds withupper limits of 43-115 km s-1 pc-1 and outer innerLindblad resonance radii of >500 pc. (3) Barred starbursts andnonstarbursts have CN SF rates of 3-11 and 0.1-2 Msolaryr-1, despite similar CN gas masses. TheΣgas-m value in the starbursts is larger (1000-3500Msolar pc-2) and close to the Toomre criticaldensity over a large region. (4) Molecular gas makes up 10%-30% of theCN dynamical mass and fuels large CN SF rates in the starbursts,building young, massive, high-V/σ components. Implications forsecular evolution along the Hubble sequence are discussed.

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.

The Distribution of Bar and Spiral Arm Strengths in Disk Galaxies
The distribution of bar strengths in disk galaxies is a fundamentalproperty of the galaxy population that has only begun to be explored. Wehave applied the bar-spiral separation method of Buta and coworkers toderive the distribution of maximum relative gravitational bar torques,Qb, for 147 spiral galaxies in the statistically well-definedOhio State University Bright Galaxy Survey (OSUBGS) sample. Our goal isto examine the properties of bars as independently as possible of theirassociated spirals. We find that the distribution of bar strengthdeclines smoothly with increasing Qb, with more than 40% ofthe sample having Qb<=0.1. In the context of recurrent barformation, this suggests that strongly barred states are relativelyshort-lived compared to weakly barred or nonbarred states. We do notfind compelling evidence for a bimodal distribution of bar strengths.Instead, the distribution is fairly smooth in the range0.0<=Qb<0.8. Our analysis also provides a first look atspiral strengths Qs in the OSUBGS sample, based on the sametorque indicator. We are able to verify a possible weak correlationbetween Qs and Qb, in the sense that galaxies withthe strongest bars tend to also have strong spirals.

Nuclear Properties of Nearby Spiral Galaxies from Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS Imaging and STIS Spectroscopy
We investigate the central regions of 23 spiral galaxies using SpaceTelescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) spectroscopy and archivalNear-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) imaging. Thesample is taken from our program to determine the masses of centralmassive black holes (MBHs) in 54 nearby spiral galaxies. Stars arelikely to contribute significantly to any dynamical central massconcentration that we find in our MBH program, and this paper is part ofa series to investigate the nuclear properties of these galaxies. We usethe Nuker law to fit surface brightness profiles, derived from theNICMOS images, to look for nuclear star clusters and find possibleextended sources in three of the 23 galaxies studied (13%). The factthat this fraction is lower than that inferred from optical Hubble SpaceTelescope studies is probably due to the greater spatial resolution ofthose studies. Using R-H and J-H colors and equivalent widths ofHα emission (from the STIS spectra), we investigate the nature ofthe stellar population with evolutionary models. Under the assumption ofhot stars ionizing the gas, as opposed to a weak active galactic nucleus(AGN), we find that there are young stellar populations (~10-20 Myr);however, these data do not allow us to determine what percentage of thetotal nuclear stellar population they form. In addition, in an attemptto find any unknown AGN, we use [N II] and [S II] line flux ratios(relative to Hα) and find tentative evidence for weak AGNs in NGC1300 and NGC 4536.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc.,under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

Molecular gas in NUclei of GAlaxies (NUGA). IV. Gravitational torques and AGN feeding
We discuss the efficiency of stellar gravity torques as a mechanism toaccount for the feeding of the central engines of four low luminosityActive Galactic Nuclei (AGN): NGC 4321 (HII nucleus/LINER), NGC 4826(HII nucleus/LINER), NGC 4579 (LINER 1.9/Seyfert 1.9) and NGC 6951(Seyfert 2). These galaxies have been observed as part of the NUclei ofGAlaxies-(NUGA) CO project, aimed at the study of AGN fuelingmechanisms. Our calculations allow us to derive the characteristictime-scales for gas flows and discuss whether torques from the stellarpotentials are efficient enough to drain the gas angular momentum in theinner 1 kpc of these galaxies. The stellar potentials are derived usinghigh-resolution near infrared (NIR) images and the averaged effectivetorques on the gas are estimated using the high-resolution(~0.5´´-2´´) CO maps of the galaxies. Resultsindicate paradoxically that feeding should be thwarted close to theAGNs: in the four cases analyzed, gravity torques are mostly positiveinside r˜ 200 pc, resulting in no inflow on these scales. As apossible solution for the paradox, we speculate that the agentresponsible for driving inflow to still smaller radii is transient andthus presently absent in the stellar potential. Alternatively, thegravity torque barrier associated with the Inner Lindblad Resonance ofthe bars in these galaxies could be overcome by other mechanisms thatbecome competitive in due time against gravity torques. In particular,we estimate on a case-by-case basis the efficiency of viscosity versusgravity torques to drive AGN fueling. We find that viscosity cancounteract moderate-to-low gravity torques on the gas if it acts on anuclear ring of high gas surface density contrast and ~a few 100 pcsize. We propose an evolutionary scenario in which gravity torques andviscosity act in concert to produce recurrent episodes of activityduring the typical lifetime of any galaxy. In this scenario therecurrence of activity in galaxies is indirectly related to that of thebar instabilities although the active phases are not necessarilycoincident with the maximum strength of a single bar episode. Thegeneral implications of these results for the current understanding offueling of low-luminosity AGN are discussed.

The internal dynamical equilibrium of H II regions: A statistical study
We present an analysis of the integrated Hα emission line profilesfor the H SHAPE Ii region population of the spiral galaxies NGC 1530,NGC 6951 and NGC 3359. We show that ˜70% of the line profiles showtwo or three Gaussian components. The relations between the luminosity(log LHα) and non-thermal line width (logσnt) for the H SHAPE Ii regions of the three galaxiesare studied and compared with the relation found taken all the H SHAPEIi regions of the three galaxies as a single distribution. In all ofthese distributions we find a lower envelope in logσnt. A clearer envelope in σnt isfound when only those H SHAPE Ii regions with σnt>σs(13 km s-1) are considered, whereσs is a canonical estimate of the sound speed in theinterestellar medium. The linear fit for the envelope is logLHα =(36.8±0.7)+(2.0±0.5) logσnt where the Hα luminosity of the region istaken directly from a photometric H SHAPE Ii region catalogue. When theHα luminosity used instead is that fraction of the H SHAPE Iiregion luminosity, corresponding to the principal velocity component,i.e. to the turbulent non-expanding contribution, the linear fit is logLHα=(36.8±0.6)+(2.0±0.5) logσnt, i.e. unchanged but slightly tighter. The masses ofthe H SHAPE Ii regions on the envelope using the virial theorem and themass estimates from the Hα luminosity are comparable, whichoffers evidence that the H SHAPE Ii regions on the envelope arevirialized systems, while the remaining regions, the majority, are notin virial equilibrium.

Expansive components in H II regions
We study the presence of low intensity high velocity components, whichwe have termed wing features in the integrated Hα emission lineprofiles of the H II region populations of the spiral barred galaxiesNGC 1530, NGC 3359 and NGC 6951. We find that more than a third of the HII region line profiles in each galaxy show these components. Thehighest fraction is obtained in the galaxy whose line profiles show thebest S:N, which suggests that wing features of this type may well existin most, if not all, H II region line profiles. Applying selectioncriteria to the wing features, we obtain a sample of H II regions withclearly defined high velocity components in their profiles.Deconvolution of a representative sample of the line profiles eliminatesany doubt that the wing features could possibly be due to instrumentaleffects. We present an analysis of the high velocity low intensityfeatures fitting them with Gaussian functions; the emission measures,central velocities and velocity dispersions for the red and bluefeatures take similar values. We interpret the features as signatures ofexpanding shells inside the H II regions. Up to a shell radius ofRshell˜ 0.2 Rreg, the stellar winds from thecentral ionizing stars appear to satisfy the energy and momentumrequirements for the formation and driving the shell. Several examplesof the most luminous H II regions show that the shells appear to havelarger radii; in these cases additional mechanisms may well be needed toexplain the kinetic energies and momenta of the shells.

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.

Nuclear spirals in galaxies: gas response to an asymmetric potential - II. Hydrodynamical models
Nuclear spirals naturally form as a gas response to non-axisymmetry inthe galactic potential, even if the degree of this asymmetry is verysmall. Linear wave theory well describes weak nuclear spirals, butspirals induced by stronger asymmetries in the potential are clearlybeyond the linear regime. Hydrodynamical models indicate spiral shocksin this latter case that, depending on how the spiral intersects thex2 orbits, either get damped, leading to the formation of thenuclear ring, or get strengthened, and propagate towards the galaxycentre. A central massive black hole of sufficient mass can allow thespiral shocks to extend all the way to its immediate vicinity, and togenerate gas inflow up to 0.03 Msolar yr-1, whichcoincides with the accretion rates needed to power luminous local activegalactic nuclei.

A molecular face-on view of the Galactic Centre region
We present a method to derive positions of molecular clouds along thelines of sight from a quantitative comparison between 2.6-mm CO emissionlines and 18-cm OH absorption lines, and apply it to the centralkiloparsecs of the Milky Way. With some simple but justifiableassumptions, we derive a face-on distribution of the CO brightness andcorresponding radial velocity in the Galactic Centre without any help ofkinematical models. The derived face-on distribution of the gas iselongated and inclined so that the Galactic-eastern (positive longitude)side is closer to us. The gas distribution is dominated by a bar-likecentral condensation, whose apparent size is 500 × 200 pc. A ridgefeature is seen to stretch from one end of the central condensation,though its elongated morphology might be artificial. The velocity fieldshows clear signs of non-circular motion in the central condensation.The `expanding molecular ring' feature corresponds to the peripheralregion surrounding the central condensation, with the Galactic-easternend being closer to us. These characteristics agree with a picture inwhich the kinematics of the gas in the central kiloparsec of the Galaxyis under the strong influence of a barred potential. The face-ondistribution of the in situ pressure of the molecular gas is derivedfrom the CO multiline analysis. The derived pressure is found to behighest in the central 100 pc. In this region, the gas is accumulatingand is forming stars.

Optical and near-infrared photometry of supernovae in galaxies of the local Universe
In this paper I briefly present and discuss photometric results forthree SNe exploded in nearby galaxies: SN 1999el, SN 2000E and SN2002cv. All data were acquired at optical and infrared bands withdedicated telescopes that allowed us to obtain well sampled and accuratelight curves spanning a wide wavelength range. The fundamental role ofinfrared wavelengths in studying SNe is emphasized.

Determination of the Thickness of Non-Edge-on Disk Galaxies
We propose a method to determine the thickness of non-edge-on diskgalaxies from their observed structure of spiral arms, based on thesolution of the truly three-dimensional Poisson's equation for alogarithmic disturbance of density and under the condition where theself-consistency of the density wave theory is no longer valid. Fromtheir measured number of arms, pitch angle and location of the innermostpoint of the spiral arms, we derive and present the thicknesses of 34spiral galaxies.

Secular Evolution and the Formation of Pseudobulges in Disk Galaxies
The Universe is in transition. At early times, galactic evolution wasdominated by hierarchical clustering and merging, processes that areviolent and rapid. In the far future, evolution will mostly be secularthe slow rearrangement of energy and mass that results from interactionsinvolving collective phenomena such as bars, oval disks, spiralstructure, and triaxial dark halos. Both processes are important now.This review discusses internal secular evolution, concentrating on oneimportant consequence, the buildup of dense central components in diskgalaxies that look like classical, merger-built bulges but that weremade slowly out of disk gas. We call these pseudobulges.

A Green Bank Telescope Search for Water Masers in Nearby Active Galactic Nuclei
Using the Green Bank Telescope, we have conducted a survey for 1.3 cmwater maser emission toward the nuclei of nearby active galaxies, themost sensitive large survey for H2O masers to date. Among 145galaxies observed, maser emission was newly detected in 11 sources andconfirmed in one other. Our survey targeted nearby (v<12,000 kms-1), mainly type 2 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) north ofδ=-20deg and includes a few additional sources as well.We find that more than one-third of Seyfert 2 galaxies have strong maseremission, although the detection rate declines beyond v~5000 kms-1 because of sensitivity limits. Two of the masersdiscovered during this survey are found in unexpected hosts: NGC 4151(Seyfert 1.5) and NGC 2782 (starburst). We discuss the possiblerelations between the large X-ray column to NGC 4151 and a possiblehidden AGN in NGC 2782 to the detected masers. Four of the masersdiscovered here, NGC 591, NGC 4388, NGC 5728, and NGC 6323, havehigh-velocity lines symmetrically spaced about the systemic velocity, alikely signature of molecular gas in a nuclear accretion disk. The masersource in NGC 6323, in particular, reveals the classic spectrum of a``disk maser'' represented by three distinct groups of Dopplercomponents. Future single-dish and VLBI observations of these fourgalaxies could provide a measurement of the distance to each galaxy andof the Hubble constant, independent of standard candle calibrations.

Circumnuclear Structure and Black Hole Fueling: Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS Imaging of 250 Active and Normal Galaxies
Why are the nuclei of some galaxies more active than others? If mostgalaxies harbor a central massive black hole, the main difference isprobably in how well it is fueled by its surroundings. We investigatethe hypothesis that such a difference can be seen in the detailedcircumnuclear morphologies of galaxies using several quantitativelydefined features, including bars, isophotal twists, boxy and diskyisophotes, and strong nonaxisymmetric features in unsharp-masked images.These diagnostics are applied to 250 high-resolution images of galaxycenters obtained in the near-infrared with NICMOS on the Hubble SpaceTelescope. To guard against the influence of possible biases andselection effects, we have carefully matched samples of Seyfert 1,Seyfert 2, LINER, starburst, and normal galaxies in their basicproperties, taking particular care to ensure that each was observed witha similar average scale (10-15 pc pixel-1). Severalmorphological differences among our five different spectroscopicclassifications emerge from the analysis. The H II/starburst galaxiesshow the strongest deviations from smooth elliptical isophotes, whilethe normal galaxies and LINERs have the least disturbed morphology. TheSeyfert 2s have significantly more twisted isophotes than any othercategory, and the early-type Seyfert 2s are significantly more disturbedthan the early-type Seyfert 1s. The morphological differences betweenSeyfert 1s and Seyfert 2s suggest that more is at work than simply theviewing angle of the central engine. They may correspond to differentevolutionary stages.

The Structure, Kinematics, and Physical Properties of the Molecular Gas in the Starburst Nucleus of NGC 253
We present 5.2"×2.6" resolution interferometry of CO J=1-->0emission from the starburst galaxy NGC 253. The high spatial resolutionof these new data, in combination with recent high-resolution maps of13CO, HCN, and near-infrared emission, allow us for the firsttime to link unambiguously the gas properties in the central starburstof NGC 253 with its bar dynamics. We confirm that the star formationresults from bar-driven gas flows as seen in ``twin peaks'' galaxies.Two distinct kinematic features are evident from the CO map andposition-velocity diagram: a group of clouds rotating as a solid bodyabout the kinematic center of the galaxy and a more extended gascomponent associated with the near-infrared bar. We model the lineintensities of CO, HCN, and 13CO to infer the physicalconditions of the gas in the nucleus of NGC 253. The results indicateincreased volume densities around the radio nucleus in a twin peaksmorphology. Compared with the CO kinematics, the gas densities appearhighest near the radius of a likely inner Linblad resonance and slightlylead the bar minor axis. This result is similar to observations of theface-on, twin peaks galaxy NGC 6951 and is consistent with models ofstarburst generation due to gas inflow along a bar.

The Star Formation Rate and Dense Molecular Gas in Galaxies
HCN luminosity is a tracer of dense molecular gas,n(H2)>~3×104cm-3, associatedwith star-forming giant molecular cloud (GMC) cores. We present theresults and analysis of our survey of HCN emission from 65 infraredgalaxies, including nine ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIGs,LIR>~1012Lsolar), 22 luminousinfrared galaxies (LIGs,1011Lsolar0.06 are LIGs or ULIGs. Normal spiralsall have similar and low dense gas fractionsLHCN/LCO=0.02-0.05. The global star formationefficiency depends on the fraction of the molecular gas in a densephase.

The Stellar Populations of Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei. II. Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph Observations
We present a study of the stellar populations of low-luminosity activegalactic nuclei (LLAGNs). Our goal is to search for spectroscopicsignatures of young and intermediate-age stars and to investigate theirrelationship with the ionization mechanism in LLAGNs. The method used isbased on the stellar population synthesis of the optical continuum ofthe innermost (20-100 pc) regions in these galaxies. For this purpose,we have collected high spatial resolution optical (2900-5700 Å)STIS spectra of 28 nearby LLAGNs that are available in the Hubble SpaceTelescope archive. The analysis of these data is compared with a similaranalysis also presented here for 51 ground-based spectra of LLAGNs. Ourmain findings are as follows: (1) No features due to Wolf-Rayet starswere convincingly detected in the STIS spectra. (2) Young starscontribute very little to the optical continuum in the ground-basedaperture. However, the fraction of light provided by these stars ishigher than 10% in most of the weak-[O I] ([OI]/Hα<=0.25) LLAGNSTIS spectra. (3) Intermediate-age stars contribute significantly to theoptical continuum of these nuclei. This population is more frequent inobjects with weak than with strong [O I]. Weak-[O I] LLAGNs that haveyoung stars stand out for their intermediate-age population. (4) Most ofthe strong-[O I] LLAGNs have predominantly old stellar population. A fewof these objects also show a featureless continuum that contributessignificantly to the optical continuum. These results suggest that youngand intermediate-age stars do not play a significant role in theionization of LLAGNs with strong [O I]. However, the ionization inweak-[O I] LLAGNs with young and/or intermediate-age populations couldbe due to stellar processes. A comparison of the properties of theseobjects with Seyfert 2 galaxies that harbor a nuclear starburst suggeststhat weak-[O I] LLAGNs are the lower luminosity counterparts of theSeyfert 2 composite nuclei.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASAcontract NAS 5-26555. Based on observations made with the Nordic OpticalTelescope (NOT), operated on the island of La Palma jointly by Denmark,Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio delRoque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica deCanarias.

The Stellar Populations of Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei. I. Ground-based Observations
We present a spectroscopic study of the stellar populations oflow-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGNs). Our main goal is todetermine whether the stars that live in the innermost (100 pc scale)regions of these galaxies are in some way related to the emission-lineproperties, which would imply a link between the stellar population andthe ionization mechanism. High signal-to-noise ratio, ground-basedlong-slit spectra in the 3500-5500 Å interval were collected for60 galaxies: 51 LINERs and LINER/H II transition objects, two starburstgalaxies, and seven nonactive galaxies. In this paper, the first of aseries, we (1) describe the sample; (2) present the nuclear spectra; (3)characterize the stellar populations of LLAGNs by means of an empiricalcomparison with normal galaxies; (4) measure a set of spectral indices,including several absorption-line equivalent widths and colorsindicative of stellar populations; and (5) correlate the stellar indiceswith emission-line ratios that may distinguish between possibleexcitation sources for the gas. Our main findings are as follows: (1)Few LLAGNs have a detectable young (<~107 yr) starburstcomponent, indicating that very massive stars do not contributesignificantly to the optical continuum. In particular, no features dueto Wolf-Rayet stars were convincingly detected. (2) High-order Balmerabsorption lines of H I (HOBLs), on the other hand, are detected in ~40%of LLAGNs. These features, which are strongest in108-109 yr intermediate-age stellar populations,are accompanied by diluted metal absorption lines and bluer colors thanother objects in the sample. (3) These intermediate-age populations arevery common (~50%) in LLAGNs with relatively weak [O I] emission([OI]/Hα<=0.25) but rare (~10%) in LLAGNs with stronger [O I].This is intriguing since LLAGNs with weak [O I] have been previouslyhypothesized to be ``transition objects'' in which both an AGN and youngstars contribute to the emission-line excitation. Massive stars, ifpresent, are completely outshone by intermediate-age and old stars inthe optical. This happens in at least a couple of objects whereindependent UV spectroscopy detects young starbursts not seen in theoptical. (4) Objects with predominantly old stars span the whole rangeof [O I]/Hα values, but (5) sources with significant young and/orintermediate-age populations are nearly all (~90%) weak-[O I] emitters.These new findings suggest a link between the stellar populations andthe gas ionization mechanism. The strong-[O I] objects are most likelytrue LLAGNs, with stellar processes being insignificant. However, theweak-[O I] objects may comprise two populations, one where theionization is dominated by stellar processes and another where it isgoverned by either an AGN or a more even mixture of stellar and AGNprocesses. Possible stellar sources for the ionization include weakstarbursts, supernova remnants, and evolved poststarburst populations.These scenarios are examined and constrained by means of complementaryobservations and detailed modeling of the stellar populations inforthcoming communications.Based on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope, operatedon the island of La Palma jointly by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway,and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos ofthe Instituto de Astrofísica de Canárias.

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:20h37m13.70s
Aparent dimensions:3.311′ × 2.399′

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NGC 2000.0NGC 6951

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