Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 400, 1690-1705 (2009/December-3)
Ages and metallicities for quiescent galaxies in the Shapley supercluster: driving parameters of the stellar populations.
SMITH R.J., LUCEY J.R. and HUDSON M.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We use high signal-to-noise spectroscopy for a sample of 232 quiescent galaxies in the Shapley supercluster, to investigate how their stellar populations depend on velocity dispersion (σ), luminosity and stellar mass. The sample spans a large range in velocity dispersion (30-300km/s) and in luminosity (MR from -18.7 to -23.2). Estimates of age, total metallicity (Z/H) and α-element abundance ratio (α/Fe) were derived from absorption-line analysis, using single-burst models of Thomas and collaborators. Using the Rose Caii index, we conclude that recent star formation (frosting) events are not responsible for the intermediate ages observed in some of the galaxies. Age, Z/H and α/Fe are correlated positively with velocity dispersion, but we also find significant residual trends with luminosity: at given σ, the brighter galaxies are younger, less α-enriched and have higher Z/H. At face value, these results might suggest that the stellar populations depend on stellar mass as well as on velocity dispersion. However, we show that the observed trends can be reproduced by models in which the stellar populations depend systematically only on σ, and are independent of stellar mass M*. For age, the observed luminosity correlation arises because young galaxies are brighter, at fixed M*. For metallicity, the observed luminosity dependence arises because metal-rich galaxies, at fixed mass, tend also to be younger, and hence brighter. We find a good match to the observed luminosity correlations with age ∝σ+0.40, Z/H∝σ+0.35,α/Fe ∝σ+0.20, where the slopes are close to those found when fitting traditional scaling relations. We conclude that the star formation and enrichment histories of galaxies are determined primarily by the depth of their gravitational potential wells. The observed residual correlations with luminosity do not imply a corresponding dependence on stellar mass.
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 RAS
galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD - galaxies: evolution
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