The Star Formation History and Dust Content in the Far Outer Disc of M31

Дата и время публикации : 2011-11-22T15:59:24Z

Авторы публикации и институты :
Edouard J. Bernard
Annette M. N. Ferguson
Michael K. Barker
Sebastian L. Hidalgo
Rodrigo A. Ibata
Michael J. Irwin
Geraint F. Lewis
Alan W. McConnachie
Matteo Monelli
Scott C. Chapman

Ссылка на журнал-издание: Ссылка на журнал-издание не найдена
Коментарии к cтатье: Abstract shortened. 17 pages, 12 figures (+ 6 pages & 5 figures in Appendix). MNRAS, in press
Первичная категория: astro-ph.GA

Все категории : astro-ph.GA

Краткий обзор статьи: We present a detailed analysis of two fields located 26 kpc (~5 scalelengths) from the centre of M31. One field samples the major axis populations–the Outer Disc field–while the other is offset by ~18′ and samples the Warp in the stellar disc. The CMDs based on HST/ACS imaging reach old main-sequence turn-offs (~12.5 Gyr). We apply the CMD-fitting technique to the Warp field to reconstruct the star formation history (SFH). We find that after undergoing roughly constant SF until about 4.5 Gyr ago, there was a rapid decline in activity and then a ~1.5 Gyr lull, followed by a strong burst lasting 1.5 Gyr and responsible for 25% of the total stellar mass in this field. This burst appears to be accompanied by a decline in metallicity which could be a signature of the inflow of metal-poor gas. The onset of the burst (~3 Gyr ago) corresponds to the last close passage of M31 and M33 as predicted by detailed N-body modelling, and may have been triggered by this event. We reprocess the deep M33 outer disc field data of Barker et al. (2011) in order to compare consistently-derived SFHs. This reveals a similar duration burst that is exactly coeval with that seen in the M31 Warp field, lending further support to the interaction hypothesis. The complex SFHs and the smoothly-varying age-metallicity relations suggest that the stellar populations observed in the far outer discs of both galaxies have largely formed in situ rather than migrated from smaller galactocentric radii. The strong differential reddening affecting the CMD of the Outer Disc field prevents derivation of the SFH. Instead, we quantify this reddening and find that the fine-scale distribution of dust precisely follows that of the HI gas. This indicates that the outer HI disc of M31 contains a substantial amount of dust and therefore suggests significant metal enrichment in these parts, consistent with inferences from our CMD analysis.

Category: Physics