NGC 404: A rejuvenated lenticular galaxy on a merger-induced, blueward excursion into the green valley

David A. Thilker, Luciana Bianchi, David Schiminovich, Armando Gil De Paz, Mark Seibert, Barry F. Madore, Ted Wyder, R. Michael Rich, Sukyoung Yi, Tom Barlow, Tim Conrow, Karl Forster, Peter Friedman, Chris Martin, Patrick Morrissey, Susan Neff, Todd Small

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82 Citations (Scopus)


We have discovered recent star formation in the outermost portion ((1-4) × R 25) of the nearby lenticular (S0) galaxy NGC 404 using Galaxy Evolution Explorer UV imaging. FUV-bright sources are strongly concentrated within the galaxy's H I ring (formed by a merger event according to del Río etal.), even though the average gas density is dynamically subcritical. Archival Hubble Space Telescope imaging reveals resolved upper main-sequence stars and conclusively demonstrates that the UV light originates from recent star formation activity. We present FUV, NUV radial surface brightness profiles, and integrated magnitudes for NGC 404. Within the ring, the average star formation rate (SFR) surface density (ΣSFR) is 2.2 × 10-5 Myr-1kpc-2. Of the total FUV flux, 70% comes from the H I ring which is forming stars at a rate of 2.5 × 10-3 M yr-1. The gas consumption timescale, assuming a constant SFR and no gas recycling, is several times the age of the universe. In the context of the UV-optical galaxy color-magnitude diagram, the presence of the star-forming H I ring places NGC 404 in the green valley separating the red and blue sequences. The rejuvenated lenticular galaxy has experienced a merger-induced, disk-building excursion away from the red sequence toward bluer colors, where it may evolve quiescently or (if appropriately triggered) experience a burst capable of placing it on the blue/star-forming sequence for up to ∼ 1 Gyr. The green valley galaxy population is heterogeneous, with most systems transitioning from blue to red but others evolving in the opposite sense due to acquisition of fresh gas through various channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L171-L175
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1 PART 2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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