The growth of the central region by acquisition of counterrotating gas in star-forming galaxies

Yan Mei Chen, Yong Shi, Christy A. Tremonti, Matt Bershady, Michael Merrifield, Eric Emsellem, Yi Fei Jin, Song Huang, Hai Fu, David A. Wake, Kevin Bundy, David Stark, Lihwai Lin, Maria Argudo-Fernandez, Thaisa Storchi Bergmann, Dmitry Bizyaev, Joel Brownstein, Martin Bureau, John Chisholm, Niv DroryQi Guo, Lei Hao, Jian Hu, Cheng Li, Ran Li, Alexandre Roman Lopes, Kai Ke Pan, Rogemar A. Riffel, Daniel Thomas, Lan Wang, Kyle Westfall, Ren Bin Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Galaxies grow through both internal and external processes. In about 10% of nearby red galaxies with little star formation, gas and stars are counter-rotating, demonstrating the importance of external gas acquisition in these galaxies. However, systematic studies of such phenomena in blue, star-forming galaxies are rare, leaving uncertain the role of external gas acquisition in driving evolution of blue galaxies. Here, based on new measurements with integral field spectroscopy of a large representative galaxy sample, we find an appreciable fraction of counter-rotators among blue galaxies (9 out of 489 galaxies). The central regions of blue counter-rotators show younger stellar populations and more intense, ongoing star formation than their outer parts, indicating ongoing growth of the central regions. The result offers observational evidence that the acquisition of external gas in blue galaxies is possible; the interaction with pre-existing gas funnels the gas into nuclear regions (<1 kpc) to form new stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13269
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Y.M.C. acknowledges support from NSFC grant 11573013, 11133001, the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province grant BK20131263, the Opening Project of Key Laboratory of Computational Astrophysics, National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Y.S. acknowledges support from NSFC grant 11373021, the CAS Pilot-b grant no. XDB09000000 and Jiangsu Scientific Committee grant BK20150014. C.A.T. acknowledges support from National Science Foundation of the United States grant no. 1412287. Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the Participating Institutions. SDSS-IV acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High-Performance Computing at the University of Utah.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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