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Resolving the stellar halos of six massive disk galaxies beyond the Local Group

  • Antonela Monachesi (a1), Eric F. Bell (a2), David J. Radburn-Smith (a3), Roelof S. de Jong (a4), Jeremy Bailin (a5) (a6), Benne Holwerda (a7) and David Streich (a4)...

Abstract

Models of galaxy formation in a hierarchical universe predict substantial scatter in the halo-to-halo stellar properties, owing to stochasticity in galaxies' merger histories. Currently, only few detailed observations of stellar halos are available, mainly for the Milky Way and M31. We present the stellar halo color/metallicity and density profiles of red giant branch stars out to ~60 kpc along the minor axis of six massive nearby Milky Way-like galaxies beyond the Local Group from the Galaxy Halos, Outer disks, Substructure, Thick disks and Star clusters (GHOSTS) HST survey. This enlargement of the sample of galaxies with observations of stellar halo properties is needed to understand the range of possible halo properties, i.e. not only the mean properties but also the halo-to-halo scatter, what a ‘typical’ halo looks like, and how similar the Milky Way halo is to other halos beyond the Local Group.

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