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The star formation histories of low surface brightness galaxies

By Eric F. Bell, David Barnaby, Richard G. Bower, Roelof S. De Jong, Doyal A. Harper, Mark Hereld, Robert F. Loewenstein and Bernard J. Rauscher

Abstract

We have performed deep imaging of a diverse sample of 26 low surface brightness galaxies (LSBGs) in the optical and the near-infrared. Using stellar population synthesis models, we find that it is possible to place constraints on the ratio of young to old stars (which we parameterise in terms of the average age of the galaxy), as well as the metallicity of the galaxy, using optical and near-infrared colours. LSBGs have a wide range of morphologies and stellar populations, ranging from older, high metallicity earlier types to much younger and lower metallicity late type galaxies. Despite this wide range of star formation histories, we find that colour gradients are common in LSBGs. These are most naturally interpreted as gradients in mean stellar age, with the outer regions of LSBGs having younger ages than their inner regions. In an attempt to understand what drives the differences in LSBG stellar populations, we compare LSBG average ages and metallicities with their physical parameters. Strong correlations are seen between a LSBG’s star formation history and its K band surface brightness, K band absolute magnitude and gas fraction. These correlations are consistent with a scenario in which the star formation history of a LSBG primarily correlates with its surface density and its metallicity correlates both with its mass and surface density

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.317.3317
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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