We present a study of the vertical structure of the gaseous and stellar disks in a sample of edge-on galaxies (NGC 4157, 4565, and 5907) using BIMA/CARMA 12CO J = 1 → 0 , VLA HI, and Spitzer 3.6 μm data. In order to take into account projection effects when we measure the disk thickness as a function of radius, we first obtain the inclination by modeling the radio data. Using the measurement of the disk thicknesses and the derived radial profiles of gas and stars, we estimate the corresponding volume densities and vertical velocity dispersions. Both stellar and gas disks have smoothly varying scale heights and velocity dispersions, contrary to assumptions of previous studies. Using the velocity dispersions, we find that the gravitational instability parameter Q follows a fairly uniform profile with radius and is ≥1 across the star-forming disk. The star formation law has a slope that is significantly different from those found in more face-on galaxy studies, both in deprojected and pixel-by-pixel plots. Midplane gas pressure based on the varying scale heights and velocity dispersions appears to roughly hold a power-law correlation with the midplane volume density ratio.
- Galaxies: ISM
- Galaxies: individual (NGC 4157, NGC 4565, NGC 5907)
- Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
- Stars: formation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science