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A sinfoni view of the nuclear activity and circumnuclear star formation in NGC 4303 – II. Spatially resolved stellar populations

AuthorsDametto, N. Z.; Riffel, Rogério; Colina, Luis ; Riffel, Rogemar A.; Piqueras López, Javier ; Davies, R. I.; Burtscher, L.; Menezes, R. B.; Arribas-Mocoroa, Santiago ; Pastoriza, M.; Labiano, Álvaro ; Storchi Bergmann, T.; Dahmer-Hahn, L. G.; Sales, Dinalva A.
KeywordsGalaxies: active
Galaxies: stellar content
Infrared: stars
Issue DateFeb-2019
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 482(4): 4437-4453 (2019)
AbstractWe present a spatially resolved stellar population study of the inner ∼200 pc radius of NGC 4303 based on near-infrared integral field spectroscopy with SINFONI/VLT at a spatial resolution of 40–80 pc and using the STARLIGHT code. We found that the distribution of the stellar populations presents a spatial variation, suggesting an age stratification. Three main structures stand out. Two nuclear blobs, one composed by young stars (t ≤ 50 Myr) and one with intermediate-age stars (50 Myr < t ≤ 2 Gyr), both shifted from the centre. The third one is an internal intermediate-age spiral arm-like structure, surrounding the blob of young stars. Our results indicate that star formation has occurred through multiple bursts in this source. Furthermore, the youngest stellar populations (t 2 Gyr) are distributed along a circumnuclear star-forming ring with r ∼ 250 pc. The ring displays star formation rates (SFRs) in the range of 0.002–0.14 Myr, favouring the ‘pearls-on-a-string’ scenario. The old underlying bulge stellar population component (t > 2 Gyr) is distributed outside the two blob structures. For the nuclear region (inner ∼60 pc radius) we derived an SFR of 0.43 M yr and found no signatures of non-thermal featureless continuum and hot dust emission, supporting the scenario in which an LLAGN/LINER-like source is hidden in the centre of NGC 4303. Thus, our results reveal a rather complex star formation history in NGC 4303, with different stellar population components coexisting with a low efficiency accreting black hole in its centre.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sty2996
Identifiersdoi: 10.1093/mnras/sty2996
e-issn: 1365-2966
issn: 0035-8711
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