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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.
Stellar populations are most useful for disentangling formation and evolution histories of galaxies. We present here results obtained using data from the GHOSTS survey ((Radburn-Smith et al., 2011) which uses HST photometry to resolve stellar populations in nearby massive disk galaxies. Using color magnitude diagrams we can distingiush stellar populations of different ages and analyse the spatial structure of each population seperately.
We have examined the vertical disk structure in six edge-on galaxies. We find a general heating of disk, i.e. larger scaleheights for older populations. The scaleheight of each population is constant over most of radial extent of each galaxy.
In massive galaxies (Vrot > 150 km/s) we clearly see a thick component (i.e. there are more stars at large distances from the plane than expected from a single disk model). These thick components consist of intermediate-aged and old stars (>1 Gyr), and the (thick) scaleheight of the old population (>4 Gyr) is significantly larger than the (thick) scaleheight of the intermediate aged (1-2 Gyr) population.
This finding argues against a rapid formation of the thick components and favors a more secular formation of these components.
We show initial results from our ongoing HST/ACS GHOSTS survey of the resolved stellar envelopes of 14 nearby, massive disk galaxies. In hierarchical galaxy formation the stellar halos and thick disks of galaxies are formed by accretion of minor satellites and therefore contain valuable information about the (early) assembly process of galaxies. We detect for the first time the very small halo of NGC 4244, a low mass edge-on galaxy. We find that massive galaxies have very extended halos, with equivalent surface brightnesses of 28-29 V-mag arcsec−2 at 20-30 kpc from the disk. The old RGB stars of the thick disk in the NGC 891 and NGC 4244 edge-on galaxies truncate at the same radius as the young thin disk stars, providing insights into the formation of both disk truncations and thick disks. We furthermore present the stellar populations of a very low surface brightness stream around M83, the first such a stream resolved into stars beyond those of the Milky Way and M31.
We present a simple technique to estimate mass-to-light (M/L) ratios of stellar populations based on two broadband photometry measurements, i.e. a colour-M/L relation. We apply the colour-M/L relation to galaxy rotation curves, using a large set of galaxies that span a great range in Hubble type, luminosity and scale size and that have accurately measured HI and/or Hα rotation curves. Using the colour-M/L relation, we construct stellar mass models of the galaxies and derive the dark matter contribution to the rotation curves.
We compare our dark matter rotation curves with adiabatically contracted Navarro, Frenk, & White (1997, NFW hereafter) dark matter halos. We find that before adiabatic contraction most high surface brightness galaxies and some low surface brightness galaxies are well fit by a NFW dark matter profile. However, after adiabatic contraction, most galaxies are poorly fit in the central few kpc. the observed angular momentum distribution in the baryonic component is poorly matched by ACDM model predictions, indicating that the angular momentum distribution is not conserved during the galaxy assembly process. We find that in most galaxies the dark matter distribution can be derived by scaling up the HI gas contribution. However, we find no consistent value for the scaling factor among all the galaxies.
We present a work in progress investigating the radial distributions of dark and luminous matter in local bright spiral galaxies spanning a range of Hubble types. the distributions are derived from multiband imaging (BVRJHK) predominately from the Ohio State University Bright Spiral Galaxy Survey (OSUBSGS) and rotation curves from the literature. We use stellar colour-MIL relationships from Bell & de Jong (2001, ApJ, 550, 212) to create radial stellar mass surface density profiles for each of our galaxies. These profiles are used to create rotation curves for the stellar component; gas masses are derived from HI when available. the resulting stellar and gas mass rotation curves are compared to observed (total mass) rotation curves, and the rotation due to dark matter is determined for each galaxy. Fits to Navarro, Frenk, & White (1996, ApJ, 462, 563; NFW) halo profiles are shown. We present this analysis for 2 example galaxies from our sample of nearly 50. We will use this data to investigate correlations between these mass components and physical properties of galaxies.
The local space density of galaxies as a function of their basic structural parameters -like luminosity, surface brightness and scalesize-is still poorly known. Our poor knowledge is mainly the result of strong selection biases against low surface brightness and small scalesize galaxies in any optically selected sample. We show that in order to correct for selection biases one has to obtain accurate surface photometry and distance estimates for a large (≳ 1000) sample of galaxies. We derive bivariate space density distributions in the (scalesize, surface brightness)-plane and the (luminosity, scalesize)-plane for a sample of ~1000 local Sb-Sdm spiral galaxies. We present a parameterization of these bivariate distributions, based on a Schechter type luminosity function and a log-normal scalesize distribution at a given luminosity. We show how surface brightness limits and (1+z)4 cosmological redshift dimming can influence interpretation of luminosity function determinations and deep galaxy counts.
Two classes of elliptical galaxies are now recognised (Kormendy & Bender 1996). Luminous ellipticals rotate slowly (Davies et al. 1983and tend to have boxy isophotes. Ellipticals fainter than L∗ exhibit an increasing tendency to be rotationally supported and to possess a stellar disk component. This dichotomy led Bender, Burstein & Faber (1992) to suggest that the physical variable that controls the ultimate nature of a forming galaxy is the degree of gaseous dissipation that occurs in the final merger it experiences. Low luminosity systems experience more dissipative mergers which generate high rotation, disky end products. As bigger galaxies are formed, the mergers become increasingly stellar, producing the classical slow rotating ellipticals. They termed this the gas/stellar continuum. This global dichotomy is also reflected in the bimodality of core morphologies of the heterogeneous sample of local ellipticals observed with HST. The low luminosity disky galaxies have ‘hard’ cores with a steep slope in the luminosity profile at small radii, whereas the luminous galaxies have ‘soft’ cores with flat profiles at small radii (e.g. Faber et al. 1997).
Normally elliptical galaxies are thought to be old, evolved systems, but recently a controversy has arisen over the age of ellipticals. Measurements by Gonzáles (1993, Ph.D. thesis, UCSC) show that the Hβ absorption indices of ellipticals span a range of values. Population synthesis models indicate that the Hβ index is a good age indicator and hence, contrary to normal perception, the ages of ellipticals seem to span a range of values.
A sample of 86 galaxies was imaged in the B, V, R, I, H and K passbands to study their light and colour distribution as function of radius (de Jong & van der Kruit 1994). The radial colour gradients were compared with new dust models, which included both absorption and scattering, and with the stellar population synthesis models of Bruzual & Chariot (1993) and Worthey (1994). By requiring that the models had to fit all six passband photometry at the same time, the relative effects of dust, stellar age and stellar metallicity could be seperated (de Jong 1995a, 1995b). The main results from this investigation are:
– All galaxies become bluer with increasing radius. The colour at each radius correlates strongly with the average surface brightness at that radius, with Hubble type being an additional effect. Late type galaxies are bluer at the same surface brightness than early type galaxies.
– The reddening profiles predicted by the dust models are incompatible with the data when all colours have to be fitted at the same time. Dust cannot be the major cause of the colour gradients.
– The population synthesis models by Worthey (1994) indicate that the colour gradients cannot be caused by metallicity gradients alone.
– The best fit to the data is reached in a model where the colour gradients are mainly caused by an age gradient across the disk, with an additional metallicity gradient to explain the very red central colours. The colours of galaxies of type later than Sc indicate that they have in general a lower metallicity at all radii than the earlier types.
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