Astrophys. J., 862, 99-99 (2018/August-1)
Stellar populations in the outer disk and halo of the spiral galaxy M101.
MIHOS J.C., DURRELL P.R., FELDMEIER J.J., HARDING P. and WATKINS A.E.
Abstract (from CDS):
We use deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging in the outskirts of the nearby spiral M101 to study stellar populations in the galaxy's outer disk and halo. Our Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) field lies 17.'6 (36 kpc) from the center of M101 and targets the blue "NE Plume" of M101's outer disk, while the parallel Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) field lies at a distance of 23.'3 (47 kpc) to sample the galaxy's stellar halo. The WFC3 halo field shows a well-defined red giant branch characterized by low metallicity ([M/H] = -1.7 ± 0.2), with no evidence of young stellar populations. In contrast, the ACS disk field shows multiple stellar populations, including a young main sequence, blue and red helium-burning stars, and old RGB and asymptotic giant branch (AGB) populations. The mean metallicity of these disk stars is quite low: [M/H] = -1.3 ± 0.2 for the RGB population, and -1.15 ± 0.2 for the younger helium-burning sequences. Of particular interest is a bunching of stars along the BHeB sequence, indicative of an evolving cohort of massive young stars. We show that the young stellar populations in this field are well-described by a decaying burst of star formation that peaked ∼300-400 Myr ago, along with a more extended star formation history to produce the older RGB and AGB populations. These results confirm and extend the results from our previous deep surface photometry of M101's outer disk, providing an important cross-check on stellar population studies using resolved stellar populations versus integrated light photometry. We discuss our results in the context of halo formation models and the interaction history of M101 and its companions.
© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
galaxies: halos - galaxies: individual: M101 - galaxies: interactions - galaxies: spiral - galaxies: stellar content
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