370 research outputs found

    The Ages of Elliptical Galaxies from Infrared Spectral Energy Distributions

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    The mean ages of early-type galaxies obtained from the analysis of optical spectra, give a mean age of 8 Gyr at z = 0, with 40% being younger than 6 Gyr. Independent age determinations are possible by using infrared spectra (5-21 microns), which we have obtained with the Infrared Spectrograph on the Spitzer Observatory. This age indicator is based on the collective mass loss rate of stars, where mass loss from AGB stars produces a silicate emission feature at 9-12 microns. This feature decreases more rapidly than the shorter wavelength continuum as a stellar population ages, providing an age indicator. From observations of 30 nearby early-type galaxies, 29 show a spectral energy distribution dominated by stars and one has significant emission from the ISM and is excluded. The infrared age indicators for the 29 galaxies show them all to be old, with a mean age of about 10 Gyr and a standard deviation of only a few Gyr. This is consistent with the ages inferred from the values of M/L_B, but is inconsistent with the ages derived from the optical line indices, which can be much younger. All of these age indicators are luminosity-weighted and should be correlated, even if multiple-age components are considered. The inconsistency indicates that there is a significant problem with either the infrared and the M/L_B ages, which agree, or with the ages inferred from the optical absorption lines.Comment: Accepted for publication in Ap

    The two regimes of the cosmic sSFR evolution are due to spheroids and discs

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    This paper aims at explaining the two phases in the observed specific star formation rate (sSFR), namely the high (>3/Gyr) values at z>2 and the smooth decrease since z=2. In order to do this, we compare to observations the specific star formation rate evolution predicted by well calibrated models of chemical evolution for elliptical and spiral galaxies, using the additional constraints on the mean stellar ages of these galaxies (at a given mass). We can conclude that the two phases of the sSFR evolution across cosmic time are due to different populations of galaxies. At z>2 the contribution comes from spheroids: the progenitors of present-day massive ellipticals (which feature the highest sSFR) as well as halos and bulges in spirals (which contribute with average and lower-than-average sSFR). In each single galaxy the sSFR decreases rapidly and the star formation stops in <1 Gyr. However the combination of different generations of ellipticals in formation might result in an apparent lack of strong evolution of the sSFR (averaged over a population) at high redshift. The z<2 decrease is due to the slow evolution of the gas fraction in discs, modulated by the gas accretion history and regulated by the Schmidt law. The Milky Way makes no exception to this behaviour.Comment: 8 pages, 5 figures, MNRAS accepte

    On the relation between sSFR and metallicity

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    In this paper we present an exact general analytic expression Z(sSFR)=y/Λ(sSFR)+I(sSFR)Z(sSFR)=y/\Lambda(sSFR)+I(sSFR) linking the gas metallicity Z to the specific star formation rate (sSFR), that validates and extends the approximate relation put forward by Lilly et al. (2013, L13), where yy is the yield per stellar generation, Λ(sSFR)\Lambda(sSFR) is the instantaneous ratio between inflow and star formation rate expressed as a function of the sSFR, and II is the integral of the past enrichment history, respectively. We then demonstrate that the instantaneous metallicity of a self-regulating system, such that its sSFR decreases with decreasing redshift, can be well approximated by the first term on the right-hand side in the above formula, which provides an upper bound to the metallicity. The metallicity is well approximated also by the L13 ideal regulator case, which provides a lower bound to the actual metallicity. We compare these approximate analytic formulae to numerical results and infer a discrepancy <0.1 dex in a range of metallicities and almost three orders of magnitude in the sSFR. We explore the consequences of the L13 model on the mass-weighted metallicity in the stellar component of the galaxies. We find that the stellar average metallicity lags 0.1-0.2 dex behind the gas-phase metallicity relation, in agreement with the data. (abridged)Comment: 14 pages, 6 figures, MNRAS accepte

    Chemical evolution of the Galactic bulge: different stellar populations and possible gradients

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    We compute the chemical evolution of the Galactic bulge to explain the existence of two main stellar populations recently observed. After comparing model results and observational data we suggest that the old more metal poor stellar population formed very fast (on a timescale of 0.1-0.3 Gyr) by means of an intense burst of star formation and an initial mass function flatter than in the solar vicinity whereas the metal rich population formed on a longer timescale (3 Gyr). We predict differences in the mean abundances of the two populations (-0.52 dex for ) which can be interpreted as a metallicity gradients. We also predict possible gradients for Fe, O, Mg, Si, S and Ba between sub-populations inside the metal poor population itself (e.g. -0.145 dex for ). Finally, by means of a chemo-dynamical model following a dissipational collapse, we predict a gradient inside 500 pc from the Galactic center of -0.26 dex kpc^{-1} in Fe.Comment: 9 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in Section 5. of Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Abundance ratios in the hot ISM of elliptical galaxies

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    To constrain the recipes put forth to solve the theoretical Fe discrepancy in the hot interstellar medium of elliptical galaxies and at the same time explain the [alpha/Fe] ratios. In order to do so we use the latest theoretical nucleosynthetic yields, we incorporate the dust, we explore differing SNIa progenitor scenarios by means of a self-consistent chemical evolution model which reproduces the properties of the stellar populations in elliptical galaxies. Models with Fe-only dust and/or a lower effective SNIa rate achieve a better agreement with the observed Fe abundance. However, a suitable modification to the SNIa yield with respect to the standard W7 model is needed to fully match the abundance ratio pattern. The 2D explosion model C-DDT by Maeda et al. (2010) is a promising candidate for reproducing the [Fe/H] and the [alpha/Fe] ratios. (A&A format)Comment: 11 pages, 4 figures, to appear on A&

    Colour gradients of high-redshift Early-Type Galaxies from hydrodynamical monolithic models

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    We analyze the evolution of colour gradients predicted by the hydrodynamical models of early type galaxies (ETGs) in Pipino et al. (2008), which reproduce fairly well the chemical abundance pattern and the metallicity gradients of local ETGs. We convert the star formation (SF) and metal content into colours by means of stellar population synthetic model and investigate the role of different physical ingredients, as the initial gas distribution and content, and eps_SF, i.e. the normalization of SF rate. From the comparison with high redshift data, a full agreement with optical rest-frame observations at z < 1 is found, for models with low eps_SF, whereas some discrepancies emerge at 1 < z < 2, despite our models reproduce quite well the data scatter at these redshifts. To reconcile the prediction of these high eps_SF systems with the shallower colour gradients observed at lower z we suggest intervention of 1-2 dry mergers. We suggest that future studies should explore the impact of wet galaxy mergings, interactions with environment, dust content and a variation of the Initial Mass Function from the galactic centers to the peripheries.Comment: 13 pages, 7 figures, 1 table, accepted for publication on MNRA
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