Astrophys. J., 639, L55-L58 (2006/March-2)
Spitzer IRS spectra of Virgo early-type galaxies: detection of stellar silicate emission.
BRESSAN A., PANUZZO P., BUSON L., CLEMENS M., GRANATO G.L., RAMPAZZO R., SILVA L., VALDES J.R., VEGA O. and DANESE L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present high signal-to-noise ratio Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph observations of 17 Virgo early-type galaxies. The galaxies were selected from those that define the color-magnitude relation of the cluster, with the aim of detecting the silicate emission of their dusty, mass-losing evolved stars. To flux calibrate these extended sources, we have devised a new procedure that allows us to obtain the intrinsic spectral energy distribution and to disentangle resolved and unresolved emission within the same object. We have found that 13 objects of the sample (76%) are passively evolving galaxies with a pronounced broad silicate feature that is spatially extended and likely of stellar origin, in agreement with model predictions. The other four objects (24%) are characterized by different levels of activity. In NGC 4486 (M87), the line emission and the broad silicate emission are evidently unresolved, and, given also the typical shape of the continuum, they likely originate in the nuclear torus. NGC 4636 shows emission lines superposed on extended (i.e., stellar) silicate emission, thus pushing the percentage of galaxies with silicate emission to 82%. Finally, NGC 4550 and NGC 4435 are characterized by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and line emission, arising from a central unresolved region. A more detailed analysis of our sample, with updated models, will be presented in a forthcoming paper.
ISM: Dust, Extinction - Galaxies: Evolution - Galaxies: Formation - Galaxies: Stellar Content - Infrared: Galaxies
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