Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 389, 1924-1936 (2008/October-1)
Uniting old stellar systems: from globular clusters to giant ellipticals.
FORBES D.A., LASKY P., GRAHAM A.W. and SPITLER L.
Abstract (from CDS):
Elliptical galaxies and globular clusters (GCs) have traditionally been regarded as physically distinct entities due to their discontinuous distribution in key scaling diagrams involving size, luminosity and velocity dispersion. Recently this distinctness has been challenged by the discovery of stellar systems with mass intermediate between those of GCs and dwarf ellipticals (such as ultracompact dwarfs and dwarf galaxy transition objects). Here we examine the relationship between the virial and stellar mass for a range of old stellar systems, from GCs to giant ellipticals, and including such intermediate-mass objects (IMOs). Improvements on previous work in this area include the use of (i) near-infrared magnitudes from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), (ii) aperture corrections to velocity dispersions, (iii) homogeneous half-light radii and (iv) accounting for the effects of non-homology in galaxies. We find a virial-to-stellar mass relation that ranges from ∼104M☉ systems (GCs) to ∼1012M☉systems (elliptical galaxies). The lack of measured velocity dispersions for dwarf ellipticals with -16 > MK> -18 (∼108M☉) currently inhibits our ability to determine how, or indeed if, these galaxies connect continuously with GCs in terms of their virial-to-stellar mass ratios. We find elliptical galaxies to have roughly equal fractions of dark and stellar matter within a virial radius; only in the most massive (greater than 1012M☉) ellipticals does dark matter dominate the virial mass. Although the IMOs reveal slightly higher virial-to-stellar mass ratios than lower mass GCs, this may simply reflect our limited understanding of their initial mass function (and hence their stellar mass-to-light ratios) or structural properties. We argue that most of these IMOs have similar properties to massive GCs, i.e. IMOs are essentially massive star clusters. Only the dwarf spheroidal galaxies exhibit behaviour notably distinct from the other stellar systems examined here, i.e. they display a strongly increasing virial-to-stellar mass ratio (equivalent to higher dark matter fractions) with decreasing stellar mass. The data used in this study are available in electronic format.
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 RAS
globular clusters: general - galaxies: dwarf - galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD - galaxies: fundamental parameters - galaxies: general - galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
VizieR on-line data:
<Available at CDS (J/MNRAS/389/1924): table1.dat table2.dat table3.dat refs.dat>
erratum vol. 415, p. 2976 (2011)
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