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Galaxies undergoing ram pressure stripping in clusters are an excellent opportunity to study the effects of environment on both the AGN and the star formation activity. We report here on the most recent results from the GASP survey. We discuss the AGN-ram pressure stripping connection and some evidence for AGN feedback in stripped galaxies. We then focus on the star formation activity, both in the disks and the tails of these galaxies, and conclude drawing a picture of the relation between multi-phase gas and star formation.
The extraordinary sensitivity and spatial resolution of the future extremely large telescopes will allow us to extensively characterize the photometrical and structural properties of high redshift galaxies in spite of their very small size. With such future facilities it will be possible to derive both accurate photometry and detailed morphology of very distant galaxies that are mandatory to tackle fundamental problems on the processes of galaxy formation and evolution.
We present a study of galaxy sizes in the local Universe as a function of galaxy environment, comparing clusters and the general field. Galaxies with radii and masses comparable to high-z massive and compact galaxies represent 4.4% of all galaxies more massive than 3 × 1010M⊙ in the field. Such galaxies are 3 times more frequent in clusters than in the field. Most of them are early-type galaxies with intermediate to old stellar populations. There is a trend of smaller radii for older luminosity-weighted ages at fixed galaxy mass. We show the relation between size and luminosity-weighted age for galaxies of different stellar masses and in different environments. We compare with high-z data to quantify the evolution of galaxy sizes. We find that, once the progenitor bias due to the relation between galaxy size and stellar age is removed, the average amount of size evolution of individual galaxies between high- and low-z is mild, of the order of a factor 1.6.
We studied the stellar populations of Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy using HST/WFPC2 imaging of 7 galaxy fields. Our observations reach the oldest main-sequence turn-off, revealing distinct stars formation episodes and allowing us to address the evolution of this prototype dwarf spheroidal galaxy known to have experienced an extended history of star formation. From our HST data, spatial gradients in the stellar content of Fornax emerge with greater clarity. The outermost fields show only stars with ages between 7–12Gyr, while the intermediate region hosts a stellar population between 4–10Gyr, and stars younger of 2 Gyr are found in the innermost fields. A clearly visible gap in the subgiant branch points to bimodality in the main star formation episode. Our observations also indicate that the inner clump detected by Coleman et al. (2004) is characterized by the presence of young stars with age about 1.8 Gyr.
As part of our near-infrared photometric survey of nearby dwarf galaxies, we present recent results for Leo I and Leo II dwarf spheroidal galaxies. We selected O- and C-rich AGB stellar populations using two-color diagrams and compared their luminosity functions and star counts with the predictions of the most recent AGB theoretical models.
Λ cold-dark-matter hierarchical models of galaxy formation suggest that the halo of the Milky Way (MW) has been assembled, at least in part, through accretion of protogalactic fragments partially resembling the present-day dwarf spheroidal (dSph) satellites of the MW. Investigation of the stellar populations of the MW's globular clusters (GCs) and dSph companions can thus provide excellent tests to infer the dominant Galaxy-formation scenario, whether merger/accretion or cloud collapse. Pulsating variable stars offer a very powerful tool in this context, since variables of different types allow tracing the different stellar generations in a galaxy and to reconstruct the galaxy's star-formation history and assembly back to the first epochs of galaxy formation. In particular, the RR Lyrae stars, belonging to the old population (t > 10 Gyr), witnessed the epoch of halo formation, and thus hold a crucial role to identify the MW satellites that may have contributed to build up the Galactic halo. In the MW, most GCs with an RR Lyrae population sharply divide into two distinct groups (Oosterhoff types I and II) based on the mean periods and relative proportion of fundamental-mode (RRab) and first-overtone (RRc) RR Lyrae stars. On the other hand, the Galactic-halo field RR Lyrae stars show a dominance of Oosterhoff I properties. Here, we investigate the Oosterhoff properties of a number of different stellar systems, starting from relatively undisturbed dwarf galaxies (the Fornax dSph and its globular clusters), through distorted and tidally disrupting ones (the Bootes and Canes Venatici II dSphs), to possible final relics of the disruption process (the Galactic globular cluster NGC 2419). We are addressing the crucial question of whether the RR Lyrae pulsation properties in these systems conform to the Oosterhoff dichotomy characterizing the MW variables. If they do not, the Galaxy's halo cannot have been assembled by dSph-like protogalactic fragments resembling the present-day dSph companions of the MW. We have reduced and combined long time series from different telescopes, both ground- and space-based. Variable stars have been detected with image-subtraction techniques using the package isis2.1. Periods, amplitudes and Oosterhoff type for all variable stars, as well as color–magnitude diagrams of the stellar populations are discussed for each stellar cluster analyzed.
We present a preliminary reconstruction of the star formation history of the Sagittarius dwarf irregular galaxy (SagDIG), a dIrr galaxy at the border of the Local Group. SagDIG is a lively star-forming dwarf galaxy with very low metallicity and an abundant gas reservoir, for which deep HST ACS observations have been obtained (Momany et al. 2005). We have built synthetic color-magnitude diagrams in the intrinsic ACS bands F606W and F814W and compared them with our HST/ACS observations to derive the global star formation history of the galaxy. We find a broad episode of star formation between 3 and 8 Gyr ago, with a low-intensity tail of star formation at older ages, and a SF enhancement in the last Gyr. An upper limit to the old populations is set by modeling the old HB. Our modeling of the color-magnitude diagram also provides some constraints on the chemical enrichment history of SagDIG.
We have applied the Image Subtraction to B,V time-series photometry of four globular clusters of the Fornax dwarf spheoridal galaxy, which were observed with the 2.2m ESO-MPI, the 6.5m Magellan/Clay, the 4m CTIO/Blanco telescopes and the WFPC2 on board of HST. We have identified RR Lyrae stars and obtained well sampled light curves for the clusters' variables. From the periods and pulsation properties of their RR Lyrae stars Fornax globular clusters seem to be of Oosterhoff intermediate type.
We present the results of near-infrared imaging of the dwarf spheroidal galaxies Fornax and Leo I as part of a photometric survey of stellar populations in Local Group dwarf galaxies. Wide-field observations in the J, H, and $K_s$ bands have been obtained with the SOFI camera at the ESO NTT at La Silla, Chile. The aim of this project is to study the evolution of Local Group dwarf spheroidal galaxies, with special regard to star formation at intermediate epochs. The near-infrared data, together with optical catalogs from the Padova Local Group wide-field survey, provide a very large color baseline ideal to study the properties of red giant branch (RGB) and asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars.
We present an overview of our study of the short period variable stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and in the dwarf galaxies Fornax, Leo I, and NGC 6822. Light curves are presented for RR Lyrae stars, Anomalous Cepheids and, for the first time, for Dwarf Cepheids in the field and in the globular cluster #3 of the Fornax galaxy.
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