Measurement of galactic logarithmic spiral arm pitch angle using two-dimensional fast Fourier transform decomposition

Benjamin L. Davis, Joel C. Berrier, Douglas W. Shields, Julia Kennefick, Daniel Kennefick, Marc S. Seigar, Claud H.S. Lacy, Ivânio Puerari

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    A logarithmic spiral is a prominent feature appearing in a majority of observed galaxies. This feature has long been associated with the traditional Hubble classification scheme, but historical quotes of pitch angle of spiral galaxies have been almost exclusively qualitative. We have developed a methodology, utilizing two-dimensional fast Fourier transformations of images of spiral galaxies, in order to isolate and measure the pitch angles of their spiral arms. Our technique provides a quantitative way to measure this morphological feature. This will allow comparison of spiral galaxy pitch angle to other galactic parameters and test spiral arm genesis theories. In this work, we detail our image processing and analysis of spiral galaxy images and discuss the robustness of our analysis techniques.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number33
    JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
    Volume199
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 2012

    Keywords

    • galaxies: fundamental parameters
    • galaxies: spiral
    • galaxies: structure

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

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