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Letters to Nature
Nature 295, 126 - 128 (14 January 1982); doi:10.1038/295126a0

Nature of the shells of NGC1344

D. Carter, D. A. Allen & D. F. Malin

Anglo-Australian Observatory, PO Box 296, Epping, New South Wales 2121, Australia

Various theories have been proposed to account for the origin1,2 of the low surface brightness features resembling thin shells seen in projection around some otherwise normal elliptical galaxies3. It has proved impossible to discriminate between these models owing to the lack of quantitative data on the nature of the shells. Here we present broad-band optical (B, V, R) and near-IR (J, H) photometry of one of the shells to determine their constitution and place constraints on their mode of formation. The colour indices derived suggest that the shell comprises a population of stars, perhaps bluer than the main body of the galaxy. There is no evidence for recent star formation. Our results favour dynamical models for the formation of the shells, perhaps from recent mergers of disk galaxies with the elliptical.



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