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Planetary nebulae in the elliptical galaxy NGC 4649 (M 60): kinematics and distance redetermination

By A. M. Teodorescu, R. H. Mendez, F. Bernardi, J. Thomas, P. Das and O. Gerhard


Using a slitless spectroscopy method with (a) the 8.2 m Subaru telescope and its FOCAS Cassegrain spectrograph, and (b) the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) unit 1 (Antu) and its FORS2 Cassegrain spectrograph, we have detected 326 planetary nebulae (PNs) in the giant Virgo elliptical galaxy NGC 4649 (M 60), and we have measured their radial velocities. After rejecting some PNs more likely to belong to the companion galaxy NGC 4647, we have built a catalog with kinematic information for 298 PNs in M 60. Using these radial velocities we have concluded that they support the presence of a dark matter halo around M 60. Based on an isotropic, two-component Hernquist model, we estimate the dark matter halo mass within 3$R_{\rm e}$ to be 4$\times10^{11} M_{\odot}$, which is almost one half of the total mass of about $10^{12} M_{\odot}$ within 3$R_{\rm e}$. This total mass is similar to that estimated from globular cluster, XMM-Newton and Chandra observations. The dark matter becomes dominant outside. More detailed dynamical modeling of the PN data is being published in a companion paper. We have also measured the $m$(5007) magnitudes of many of these PNs, and built a statistically complete sample of 218 PNs. The resulting PN luminosity function (PNLF) was used to estimate a distance modulus of 30.7$\pm$0.2 mag, equivalent to 14$\pm$1 Mpc. This confirms an earlier PNLF distance measurement, based on a much smaller sample. The PNLF distance modulus remains smaller than the surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) distance modulus by 0.4 mag.Comment: Accepted for publication in ApJ; 14 figure

Topics: Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/736/1/65
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