A SINFONI view of circum-nuclear star-forming rings in spiral galaxies

Falcón-Barroso, Jesús; Böker, Torsten; Schinnerer, Eva; Knapen, Johan H.; Ryder, Stuart
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Formation and Evolution of Galaxy Bulges, Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, IAU Symposium, Volume 245, p. 177-180

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We present near-infrared (H- and K-band) SINFONI integral-field observations of the circumnuclear star formation rings in five nearby spiral galaxies. We made use of the relative intensities of different emission lines (i.e. [FeII], HeI, Brγ) to age date the stellar clusters present along the rings. This qualitative, yet robust, method allows us to discriminate between two distinct scenarios that describe how star formation progresses along the rings. Our findings favour a model where star formation is triggered predominantly at the intersection between the bar major axis and the inner Lindblad resonance and then passively evolves as the clusters rotate around the ring (‘Pearls on a string’ scenario), although models of stochastically distributed star formation (‘Popcorn’ model) cannot be completely ruled out.