NGC 4550 - A laboratory for testing galaxy formation

Rix, H.W., Franx, M., Fisher, D., & Illingworth, G. 1992, Ap. J. 400, L5.

The kinematic and photometric structure of the two components of the E7/S0 galaxy NGC 4550 are evaluated quantitatively to determine the system's morphology. Attention is given to whether the data indicate a rotating bulge with a counterrotating disk or a pair of counterstreaming disks, and formation scenarios are discussed in the light of the findings. The data examined include long-slit spectroscopy with evidence of bimodality in the line-of-sight velocity distribution. Two photometrically inseparable counterstreaming disk components are identified and their velocities given. The structure and the formation scenarios given point to the feasibility of absorption of external material by galaxy disks without extreme heating. The possibility of detecting stellar counterrotation in S0 disks is discussed based on the study of NGC 4550.