Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 506, 1137-1146 (2009/11-2)
The metallicity gradient as a tracer of history and structure: the Magellanic Clouds and M33 galaxies.
Abstract (from CDS):
The stellar metallicity and its gradient place constraints on the formation and evolution of galaxies. This is a study of the metallicity gradient of the LMC, SMC and M33 galaxies derived from their asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars.The [Fe/H] abundance was derived from the ratio between C- and M-type AGB stars and its variation analysed as a function of galactocentric distance. Galaxy structure parameters were adopted from the literature.The metallicity of the LMC decreases linearly as -0.047±0.003dex/kpc out to ∼8kpc from the centre. In the SMC, [Fe/H] has a constant value of ~-1.25±0.01dex up to ∼12kpc. The gradient of the M33 disc, until ∼9kpc, is -0.078±0.003dex/kpc while the outer disc/halo, out to ∼25kpc, has [Fe/H]~-1.7dex.The metallicity of the LMC, as traced by different populations, bears the signature of two major star forming episodes: the first one constituting a thick disc/halo population and the second one a thin disc and bar due to a close encounter with the Milky Way and SMC. The [Fe/H] of the recent episode supports an LMC origin for the Stream. The metallicity of the SMC supports star formation, ∼3Gyr ago, as triggered by LMC interaction and sustained by the bar in the outer region of the galaxy. The SMC [Fe/H] agrees with the present-day abundance in the Bridge and shows no significant gradient. The metallicity of M33 supports an ``inside-out'' disc formation via accretion of metal poor gas from the interstellar medium.
galaxies: abundances - Magellanic Clouds - Local Group - stars: AGB and post-AGB - galaxies: stellar content - galaxies: individual: M33