skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Being WISE. I. Validating stellar population models and M {sub *}/L ratios at 3.4 and 4.6 μm

Using data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, we have measured near infra-red (NIR) photometry of a diverse sample of dust-free stellar systems (globular clusters, dwarf and giant early-type galaxies) which have metallicities that span the range -2.2 < [Fe/H] (dex) < 0.3. This dramatically increases the sample size and broadens the metallicity regime over which the 3.4 (W1) and 4.6 μm (W2) photometry of stellar populations have been examined. We find that the W1 – W2 colors of intermediate and old (>2 Gyr) stellar populations are insensitive to the age of the stellar population, but that the W1 – W2 colors become bluer with increasing metallicity, a trend not well reproduced by most stellar population synthesis (SPS) models. In common with previous studies, we attribute this behavior to the increasing strength of the CO absorption feature located in the 4.6 μm bandpass with metallicity. Having used our sample to validate the efficacy of some of the SPS models, we use these models to derive stellar mass-to-light ratios in the W1 and W2 bands. Utilizing observational data from the SAURON and ATLAS3D surveys, we demonstrate that these bands provide extremely simple, yet robust stellar mass tracers for dust freemore » older stellar populations that are freed from many of the uncertainties common among optical estimators.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Max Planck Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, D-69117, Heidelberg (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370059
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 797; 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; ABSORPTION; CARBON MONOXIDE; COLOR; DUSTS; GALAXIES; INFRARED SURVEYS; MASS; METALLICITY; PHOTOMETRY; STAR EVOLUTION; SYNTHESIS; VISIBLE RADIATION