Caught in the act: Strong, active ram pressure stripping in virgo cluster spiral NGC4330

Anne Abramson, Jeffrey D.P. Kenney, Hugh H. Crowl, Aeree Chung, J. H. Van Gorkom, Bernd Vollmer, David Schiminovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


We present a multi-wavelength study of NGC4330, a highly inclined spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster which is a clear example of strong, ongoing intracluster medium-interstellar medium (ICM-ISM) ram pressure stripping. The H I has been removed from well within the undisturbed old stellar disk, to 50%-65% of R25. Multi-wavelength data (WIYN BVR-Hα, Very Large Array 21cm H I and radio continuum, and Galaxy Evolution Explorer NUV and FUV) reveal several one-sided extraplanar features likely caused by ram pressure at an intermediate disk-wind angle. At the leading edge of the interaction, the Hα and dust extinction curve sharply out of the disk in a remarkable and distinctive "upturn" feature that may be generally useful as a diagnostic indicator of active ram pressure. On the trailing side, the ISM is stretched out in a long tail which contains 10% of the galaxy's total H I emission, 6%-9% of its NUV-FUV emission, but only 2% of the Hα. The centroid of the H I tail is downwind of the UV/Hα tail, suggesting that the ICM wind has shifted most of the ISM downwind over the course of the past 10-300Myr. Along the major axis, the disk is highly asymmetric in the UV, but more symmetric in Hα and H I, also implying recent changes in the distributions of gas and star formation. The UV-optical colors indicate very different star formation histories for the leading and trailing sides of the galaxy. On the leading side, a strong gradient in the UV-optical colors of the gas-stripped disk suggests that it has taken 200-400Myr to strip the gas from a radius of >8 to 5kpc, but on the trailing side there is no age gradient. All our data suggest a scenario in which NGC4330 is falling into the cluster center for the first time and has experienced a significant increase in ram pressure over the last 200-400Myr. Many of the UV-bright stars that form outside the thin disk due to ram pressure will ultimately produce stellar thick disk and halo components with characteristic morphologies and age distributions distinct from those produced by gravitational interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Caught in the act: Strong, active ram pressure stripping in virgo cluster spiral NGC4330'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this