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Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 130, 81-108

Near-infrared surface photometry of early-type spiral galaxies

I. Bulge and disk decomposition[*]

G. Moriondo1 - C. Giovanardi2 - L.K. Hunt3

Send offprint request: G. Moriondo

1- Dipartimento di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio, L.E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy
2- Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, L.E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy
3- C.A.I.S.M.I., L.E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy

Received May 22; accepted November 17, 1997


We present near-infrared (NIR) surface photometry of a sample of 14 early-type spirals with observed rotation curves. In this first paper, we report the results of two-dimensional parametric and non-parametric decompositions to separate the bulge and disk components; the parametric bulge is modeled with a generalized exponential law of integer index n, and the disk with a simple exponential. We find that the derived bulge parameters, for a given galaxy, vary systematically with the bulge shape index n. The mean early-type bulge has a best-fit n = 2.6, and 80% of the sample has best n of 2 or 3. Bulges are rarely spherical; the median bulge intrinsic ellipticity is 0.33. The median early-type disk has $(J-K)_{\rm d}$ more than 0.1 mag bluer than the bulge, and a NIR disk surface brightness more than 1 mag arcsec-2 brighter than later-type disks. Our data are consistent with the well-established correlation of both bulge and disk surface brightness with physical scale length, and we note that the location of bulges within this projection of the fundamental plane depends on their shape index n. In agreement with previous work, the ratios of bulge and disk scale lengths are consistent with a constant value $r_{\rm e}/r_{\rm d}$ = 0.3; however, such value again depends on the bulge index n, implying that claims for a scale-free Hubble sequence may be premature.

Key words: galaxies: spiral -- galaxies: structure -- infrared: galaxies

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