Imaging and spectroscopic observations of a strange elliptical bubble in the northern arm of the spiral galaxy NGC 6946

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Efremov, Yuri N. ; Moiseev, Alexei V. (2016)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1093/mnras/stw1469
  • Subject: Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
    arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics | Astrophysics::High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena | Astrophysics::Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

NGC 6946, known as the Fireworks galaxy because of its high supernova rate and high star formation, is embedded in a very extended HI halo. Its northern spiral arm is well detached from the galactic main body. We found that this arm contains a large (~300 pc in size) Red Ellipse, named according to a strong contamination of the H-alpha emission line on its optical images. The ellipse is accompanied by a short parallel arc and a few others still smaller and less regular; a bright star cluster is seen inside these features. The complicated combination of arcs seems to be unique, it is only a bit similar to some SNRs. However, the long-slit spectral data obtained with the Russian 6-m telescope did not confirm the origin of the nebula as a result of a single SN outburst. The emission-line spectrum corresponds to the photoionization by young hot stars with a small contribution of shock ionization. The most likely explanation of the Red Ellipse is a superbbuble created by a collective feedback of massive stars in the star cluster located in the NE side of the Red Ellipse. However, the very regular elliptical shape of the nebulae seems strange.
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