The Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey. III. The Three-Component Structure of Nearby Elliptical Galaxies

Дата и время публикации : 2012-12-11T21:00:10Z

Авторы публикации и институты :
Song Huang (School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Key Laboratory of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics, Nanjing University)
Luis C. Ho (The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science)
Chien Y. Peng (Giant Magellan Telescope Organization)
Zhao-Yu Li (Key Laboratory for Research in Galaxies and Cosmology, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory)
Aaron J. Barth (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Irvine)

Ссылка на журнал-издание: 2013ApJ…766…47H
Коментарии к cтатье: To appear in The Astrophysical Journal; 36 pages, 2 tables, 38 figures; For the full resolution version, see: ; For the atlas of all selected models, see
Первичная категория: astro-ph.CO

Все категории : astro-ph.CO, astro-ph.GA

Краткий обзор статьи: Motivated by recent developments in our understanding of the formation and evolution of massive galaxies, we explore the detailed photometric structure of a representative sample of 94 bright, nearby elliptical galaxies, using high-quality optical images from the Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey. The sample spans a range of environments and stellar masses, from M* = 10^{10.2} to 10^{12.0} solar mass. We exploit the unique capabilities of two-dimensional image decomposition to explore the possibility that local elliptical galaxies may contain photometrically distinct substructure that can shed light on their evolutionary history. Compared with the traditional one-dimensional approach, these two-dimensional models are capable of consistently recovering the surface brightness distribution and the systematic radial variation of geometric information at the same time. Contrary to conventional perception, we find that the global light distribution of the majority (>75%) of elliptical galaxies is not well described by a single Sersic function. Instead, we propose that local elliptical galaxies generically contain three subcomponents: a compact (R_e < 1 kpc) inner component with luminosity fraction f ~ 0.1-0.15; an intermediate-scale (R_e ~ 2.5 kpc) middle component with f ~ 0.2-0.25; and a dominant (f = 0.6), extended (R_e ~ 10 kpc) outer envelope. All subcomponents have average Sersic indices n ~ 1-2, significantly lower than the values typically obtained from single-component fits. The individual subcomponents follow well-defined photometric scaling relations and the stellar mass-size relation. We discuss the physical nature of the substructures and their implications for the formation of massive elliptical galaxies.

Category: Physics