Formation of giant low surface brightness galaxies through disc instability

Masafumi Noguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


It is shown that the giant low surface brightness galaxies (GLSBs), characterized by a large but diffuse disc component, can result from ordinary spiral galaxies through dynamical evolution. Numerical simulations indicate that the formation of a bar in a gravitationally unstable disc with high surface density induces non-circular motions and radial mixing of disc matter, leading to the flattening of the disc density profile. The resulting decrease in the disc central surface brightness is ∼1.5 magnitude, while the disc scalelength is nearly doubled, transforming a typical high surface brightness galaxy to a GSLB. This scenario seems promising especially for the GSLBs possessing a significant bulge, which are difficult to incorporate into the traditional Hubble sequence. Namely, because this disc transmutation can operate even if a moderate bulge component exists, the GSLBs with a bulge are argued to have resulted from the high surface brightness galaxies which had already possessed a bulge. The current picture naturally explains other observed characteristics of the GSLBs as well, including the propensity for having grand-design spiral arms and a bar, a high incidence of active nuclei, and galaxy environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-358
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: spiral
  • Galaxies: structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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