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The ATLAS 3D Project - XXX. Star formation histories and stellar population scaling relations of early-type galaxies

McDermid, R. M., Alatalo, K., Blitz, L., Bournaud, F., Bureau, M., Cappellari, M., Crocker, A. F., Davies, R. L., Davis, Timothy ORCID:, de Zeeuw, P. T., Duc, P.-A., Emsellem, E., Khochfar, S., Krajnovi, D., Kuntschner, H., Morganti, R., Naab, T., Oosterloo, T., Sarzi, M., Scott, N., Serra, P., Weijmans, A.-M. and Young, L. M. 2015. The ATLAS 3D Project - XXX. Star formation histories and stellar population scaling relations of early-type galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 448 (4) , pp. 3484-3513. 10.1093/mnras/stv105

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We present the stellar population content of early-type galaxies from the ATLAS3D survey. Using spectra integrated within apertures covering up to one effective radius, we apply two methods: one based on measuring line-strength indices and applying single stellar population (SSP) models to derive SSP-equivalent values of stellar age, metallicity, and alpha enhancement; and one based on spectral fitting to derive non-parametric star formation histories, mass-weighted average values of age, metallicity, and half-mass formation time-scales. Using homogeneously derived effective radii and dynamically determined galaxy masses, we present the distribution of stellar population parameters on the Mass Plane (MJAM, σe, Rmaje), showing that at fixed mass, compact early-type galaxies are on average older, more metal-rich, and more alpha-enhanced than their larger counterparts. From non-parametric star formation histories, we find that the duration of star formation is systematically more extended in lower mass objects. Assuming that our sample represents most of the stellar content of today's local Universe, approximately 50 per cent of all stars formed within the first 2 Gyr following the big bang. Most of these stars reside today in the most massive galaxies (>1010.5 M⊙), which themselves formed 90 per cent of their stars by z ∼ 2. The lower mass objects, in contrast, have formed barely half their stars in this time interval. Stellar population properties are independent of environment over two orders of magnitude in local density, varying only with galaxy mass. In the highest density regions of our volume (dominated by the Virgo cluster), galaxies are older, alpha-enhanced, and have shorter star formation histories with respect to lower density regions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of Acceptance: 15 January 2015
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 06:49

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