The Leo elliptical NGC 3379: a metal-poor halo emerges.
HARRIS W.E., HARRIS G.L.H., LAYDEN A.C. and WEHNER E.M.H.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have used the ACS camera on HST to obtain (V, I) photometry for 5300 red giant stars in the halo of the dominant Leo group member NGC 3379, a galaxy usually regarded as a classic normal giant elliptical. We use this data to derive the metallicity distribution function (MDF) for its outer-halo field stars at a location centered 33 kpc from the galaxy center. In at least two ways the MDF is distinctly unlike all the other E galaxies for which similar data exist. First, the NGC 3379 MDF is extremely broad and flat, with many stars at every interval in [m/H]. Second, we see a metallicity gradient such that in ithe outermost parts of the field the low-metallicity stars ([m/H]←0.7) begin to dominate and the higher metallicity stars are rapidly diminishing. We find that a distinct two-stage chemical evolution model is necessary to explain the MDF shape. Our target field is centered at a projected distance of 12Re, twice as far out in units of effective radius as in any of the other galaxies yet surveyed. If NGC 3379 is indeed representative of large E/S0 galaxies, we predict that other such galaxies will reveal diffuse low-metallicity subpopulations, but that photometry at radii r≃(10-15)Re will be necessary to get beyond the edge of the dominant metal-rich component.
Galaxies: Elliptical and Lenticular, cD - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 3379