Astrophys. J., 841, 68-68 (2017/June-1)
The stellar initial mass function in early-type galaxies from absorption line spectroscopy. III. Radial gradients.
VAN DOKKUM P., CONROY C., VILLAUME A., BRODIE J. and ROMANOWSKY A.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
There is good evidence that the centers of massive early-type galaxies have a bottom-heavy stellar initial mass function (IMF) compared to that of the Milky Way. Here we study the radial variation of the IMF within such galaxies, using a combination of high-quality Keck spectroscopy and a new suite of stellar population synthesis models that cover a wide range in metallicity. As in the previous studies in this series, the models are fitted directly to the spectra and treat all elemental abundance ratios as free parameters. Using newly obtained spectroscopy for six galaxies, including deep data extending to ∼1Re for the galaxies NGC 1407, NGC 1600, and NGC 2695, we find that the IMF varies strongly with galactocentric radius. For all six galaxies the IMF is bottom-heavy in the central regions, with average mass-to-light ratio "mismatch" parameter α≡(M/L)/(M/L)MW~2.5 at R = 0. The IMF rapidly becomes more bottom-light with increasing radius, flattening off near the Milky Way value (α~1.1) at R 0.4Re. A consequence is that the luminosity-weighted average IMF depends on the measurement aperture: within R=Re we find <α>L=1.3–1.5, consistent with recent lensing and dynamical results from SLACS and ATLAS3D. Our results are also consistent with several earlier studies that were based on analyses of radial gradients of line indices. The observed IMF gradients support galaxy formation models in which the central regions of massive galaxies had a different formation history than their outer parts. Finally, we make use of the high signal-to-noise central spectra of NGC 1407 and NGC 2695 to demonstrate how we can disentangle IMF effects and abundance effects.
© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
galaxies: abundances - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: structure - galaxies: stellar content - stars: luminosity function, mass function - stars: luminosity function, mass function
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