AbstractWe present observations of four nearby early-type galaxies with previously known nuclear stellar disks using two instruments on-board the Hubble Space Telescope. We observed NGC4128, NGC4612, and NGC5308 with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, and the same three galaxies, plus NGC4570, with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. We have detected a red nucleus in NGC4128, a blue nucleus in NGC4621, and a blue disk in NGC5308. Additionally, we have discovered a blue disk-like feature with position angle ~15 degrees from the major axis in NGC4621. In NGC5308 there is evidence for a blue region along the minor axis. We discovered a blue transient on the images of NGC4128 at position 0.14" west and 0.32" north from the nucleus. The extracted kinematic profiles belong to two groups: fast (NGC4570 and NGC5308) and kinematically disturbed rotators (NGC4128 and NGC4621). We report the discovery of a kinematically decoupled core in NGC4128. Galaxies have mostly old (10-14 Gyr) stellar populations with large spread in metallicities (sub- to super-solar). We discuss the possible formation scenarios, including bar-driven secular evolution and the influence of mergers, which can explain the observed color and kinematic features.
Comment: 22 pages, 14 figures, A&A in press
Astron.Astrophys. 428 (2004) 877-890