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Spatially resolved spectroscopic star formation histories of nearby disks: hints of stellar migration


Yoachim, Peter; Roškar, Rok; Debattista, Victor P (2012). Spatially resolved spectroscopic star formation histories of nearby disks: hints of stellar migration. Astrophysical Journal, 752(2):97.

Abstract

We use the Mitchell Spectrograph (formerly VIRUS-P) to observe 12 nearby disk galaxies. We successfully measure ages in the outer disk in six systems. In three cases (NGC 2684, NGC 6155, and NGC 7437), we find that a downward break in the disk surface brightness profile corresponds with a change in the dominant stellar population with the interior being dominated by active star formation and the exterior having older stellar populations that are best fit with star formation histories that decline with time. The observed increase in average stellar ages beyond a profile break is similar to theoretical models that predict surface brightness breaks are caused by stellar migration, with the outer disk being populated from scattered old interior stars. In three more cases (IC 1132, NGC 4904, and NGC 6691), we find no significant change in the stellar population as one crosses the break radius. In these galaxies, both the inner and outer disks are dominated by active star formation and younger stellar populations. While radial migration can contribute to the stellar populations beyond the break, it appears that more than one mechanism is required to explain all of our observed stellar profile breaks.

Abstract

We use the Mitchell Spectrograph (formerly VIRUS-P) to observe 12 nearby disk galaxies. We successfully measure ages in the outer disk in six systems. In three cases (NGC 2684, NGC 6155, and NGC 7437), we find that a downward break in the disk surface brightness profile corresponds with a change in the dominant stellar population with the interior being dominated by active star formation and the exterior having older stellar populations that are best fit with star formation histories that decline with time. The observed increase in average stellar ages beyond a profile break is similar to theoretical models that predict surface brightness breaks are caused by stellar migration, with the outer disk being populated from scattered old interior stars. In three more cases (IC 1132, NGC 4904, and NGC 6691), we find no significant change in the stellar population as one crosses the break radius. In these galaxies, both the inner and outer disks are dominated by active star formation and younger stellar populations. While radial migration can contribute to the stellar populations beyond the break, it appears that more than one mechanism is required to explain all of our observed stellar profile breaks.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:June 2012
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 17:05
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:22
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN:0004-637X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/752/2/97

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