Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 326, 1517-1532 (2001/October-1)
2D modelling of the light distribution of early-type galaxies in a volume-limited sample - II. Results for real galaxies.
Abstract (from CDS):
In this paper we analyse the results of the two-dimensional (2D) fit of the light distribution of 73 early-type galaxies belonging to the Virgo and Fornax clusters, a sample volume- and magnitude-limited down to MB=-17.3, and highly homogeneous. In our previous paper (Paper I) we have presented the adopted 2D models of the surface-brightness distribution - namely the r1/n and (r1/n+exp) models - we have discussed the main sources of error affecting the structural parameters, and we have tested the ability of the chosen minimization algorithm (minuit) in determining the fitting parameters using a sample of artificial galaxies. We show that, with the exception of 11 low-luminosity E galaxies, the best fit of the real galaxy sample is always achieved with the two-component (r1/n+exp) model. The improvement in the χ2 due to the addition of the exponential component is found to be statistically significant. The best fit is obtained with the exponent n of the generalized r1/n Sersic law different from the classical de Vaucouleurs value of 4. Nearly 42 per cent of the sample have n<2, suggesting the presence of exponential `bulges' also in early-type galaxies. 20 luminous E galaxies are fitted by the two-component model, with a small central exponential structure (`disc') and an outer big spheroid with n>4. We believe that this is probably due to their resolved core. The resulting scalelengths Rh and Re of each component peak approximately at ∼1 and ∼2kpc, respectively, although with different variances in their distributions. The ratio Re/Rh peaks at ∼0.5, a value typical for normal lenticular galaxies. The first component, represented by the r1/n law, is probably made of two distinct families, `ordinary' and `bright', on the basis of their distribution in the µe-log(Re) plane, a result already suggested by Capaccioli, Caon and D'Onofrio. The bulges of spirals and S0 galaxies belong to the `ordinary' family, while the large spheroids of luminous E galaxies form the `bright' family. The second component, represented by the exponential law, also shows a wide distribution in the µ0c-log(Rh) plane. Small discs (or cores) have short scalelengths and high central surface brightness, while normal lenticulars and spiral galaxies generally have scalelengths higher than 0.5kpc and central surface brightness brighter than 20magarcsec–2 (in the B band). The scalelengths Re and Rh of the `bulge' and `disc' components are probably correlated, indicating that a self-regulating mechanism of galaxy formation may be at work. Alternatively, two regions of the Re-Rh plane are avoided by galaxies due to dynamical instability effects. The bulge-to-disc (B/D) ratio seems to vary uniformly along the Hubble sequence, going from late-type spirals to E galaxies. At the end of the sequence the ratio between the large spheroidal component and the small inner core can reach B/D∼100.
2001 Blackwell Science Ltd
galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD - galaxies: fundamental parameters - galaxies: photometry - galaxies: structure
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