M51 Galaxy A Catalog of M51 Galaxy Associations

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A catalog of 232 apparently interacting galaxy pairs of the M51 class is presented. Catalog members were identified from visual inspection of multi-band images in the IRSA archive. The major findings in the compilation of this catalog are (1) A surprisingly low number of the main galaxies in M51 systems are early type spirals and barred spirals. (2) Over 70% of the main galaxies in M51 systems are 2-armed spirals. (3) Some systems that were classified as M51 types in previous studies are not M51 types as defined in this catalog. There were a number of systems previously classified as M51 systems for which the “companion” is identified as an HII region within the main galaxy or foreground star within the Milky Way. (4) It was found that only 18% of the M51 type companions have redshift measurements in the literature. There is a significant need for spectroscopic study of the companions in order to improve the value of the catalog as a sample for studying the effects of M51 type interaction on galaxy dynamics, morphology, and star formation. Further spectroscopy will also help constrain the statistics of possible chance projections between foreground and background galaxies in the catalog. The catalog also contains over 430 additional systems which are classified as “possible M51” systems. The reasons for classifying certain systems as possible M51 systems are discussed.


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