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Title: Early-type galaxy archeology: Ages, abundance ratios, and effective temperatures from full-spectrum fitting

The stellar populations of galaxies hold vital clues to their formation histories. In this paper we present results based on modeling stacked spectra of early-type galaxies drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey as a function of velocity dispersion, σ, from 90 km s{sup –1} to 300 km s{sup –1}. The spectra are of extremely high quality, with typical signal-to-noise ratio of 1000 Å{sup –1}, and a wavelength coverage of 4000 Å –8800 Å. Our population synthesis model includes variation in 16 elements from C to Ba, a two-component star formation history, the shift in effective temperature, Δ T {sub eff}, of the stars with respect to a solar metallicity isochrone, and the stellar initial mass function, among other parameters. In our approach we fit the full optical spectra rather than a select number of spectral indices and are able to, for the first time, measure the abundances of the elements V, Cr, Mn, Co, and Ni from the integrated light of distant galaxies. Our main results are as follows: (1) light-weighted stellar ages range from 6-12 Gyr from low to high σ; (2) [Fe/H] varies by less than 0.1 dex across the entire sample; (3) Mg closely tracks O,more » and both increase from ≈0.0 at low σ to ∼0.25 at high σ; Si and Ti show a shallower rise with σ, and Ca tracks Fe rather than O; (4) the iron peak elements V, Cr, Mn, and Ni track Fe, while Co tracks O, suggesting that Co forms primarily in massive stars; (5) C and N track O over the full sample and [C/Fe] and [N/Fe] exceed 0.2 at high σ; and (6) the variation in Δ T {sub eff} with total metallicity closely follows theoretical predictions based on stellar evolution theory. This last result is significant because it implies that we are robustly solving not only for the detailed abundance patterns but also the detailed temperature distributions (i.e., isochrones) of the stars in these galaxies. A variety of tests reveal that the systematic uncertainties in our measurements are probably 0.05 dex or less. Our derived [Mg/Fe] and [O/Fe] abundance ratios are 0.05-0.1 dex lower than most previous determinations. Under the conventional interpretation that the variation in these ratios is due to star formation timescale variations, our results suggest longer star formation timescales for massive early-type galaxies than previous studies. Detailed chemical evolution models are necessary in order to translate the abundance ratio distributions of these galaxies into constraints on their formation histories. Alternatively, these data may provide useful constraints on the nucleosynthetic pathways for elements whose production is not well understood.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
  2. Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States)
  3. Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348327
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 780; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DISPERSIONS; DISTRIBUTION; ELEMENT ABUNDANCE; FORECASTING; GALAXIES; IRON; LIMITING VALUES; MASS; METALLICITY; SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO; SKY; SPECTRA; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS; SYNTHESIS; TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION; VISIBLE RADIATION; WAVELENGTHS