Caught in formation: the nuclear-cluster-to-be in NGC 2139

Andersen, David R.
Walcher, C. Jakob
Boeker, Torsten
Ho, Luis C.
van der Marel, Roeland P.
Rix, Hans-Walter
Shields, Joseph C.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Close to its center, the bulgeless galaxy NGC 2139 hosts a star cluster that is younger and less massive than any actual nuclear star cluster (NC) studied so far. We have measured the H-alpha velocity field around the photometric center of this galaxy using the VLT ARGUS integral field unit and GIRAFFE spectrograph in order to constrain different proposed theories of NC formation. We observe that the best-fit kinematic center and the candidate NC appear to be separated by 2.8 arcsec (320 pc). Indeed, the kinematic center also is offset from the galaxy's photometric center and a possible bar or extended region of star formation in which the young cluster resides, implying that this galaxy is not in dynamic equilibrium. The H-alpha flux map also reveals other regions of strong star formation in the possible bar. These observations suggest that a nascent NC is forming away from the kinematic center of NGC 2139 which may come to rest there on a time scale of a few 100 Myr.
Comment: Accepted for publication in ApJ; 11 pages, 7 figures, Replaced figure 3 with correct version