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Title: Global properties of M31's stellar halo from the splash survey. II. Metallicity profile

We present the metallicity distribution of red giant branch (RGB) stars in M31's stellar halo, derived from photometric metallicity estimates for over 1500 spectroscopically confirmed RGB halo stars. The stellar sample comes from 38 halo fields observed with the Keck/DEIMOS spectrograph, ranging from 9 to 175 kpc in projected distance from M31's center, and includes 52 confirmed M31 halo stars beyond 100 kpc. While a wide range of metallicities is seen throughout the halo, the metal-rich peak of the metallicity distribution function becomes significantly less prominent with increasing radius. The metallicity profile of M31's stellar halo shows a continuous gradient from 9 to ∼100 kpc, with a magnitude of ∼ – 0.01 dex kpc{sup –1}. The stellar velocity distributions in each field are used to identify stars that are likely associated with tidal debris features. The removal of tidal debris features does not significantly alter the metallicity gradient in M31's halo: a gradient is maintained in fields spanning 10-90 kpc. We analyze the halo metallicity profile, as well as the relative metallicities of stars associated with tidal debris features and the underlying halo population, in the context of current simulations of stellar halo formation. We argue that the large-scale gradientmore » in M31's halo implies M31 accreted at least one relatively massive progenitor in the past, while the field to field variation seen in the metallicity profile indicates that multiple smaller progenitors are likely to have contributed substantially to M31's outer halo.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ; ; ;  [3] ; ;  [4] ; ;  [5] ; ;  [6]
  1. Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
  2. UCO/Lick Observatory, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
  3. Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400325, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4325 (United States)
  4. Astronomy Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 (United States)
  5. California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, MC 249-17, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  6. Astronomical Institute, Tohoku University, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8578 (Japan)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370167
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 796; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; DISTANCE; DISTRIBUTION; DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS; GALAXIES; METALLICITY; METALS; RED GIANT STARS; S CENTERS; SIMULATION; STARS; VELOCITY