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The SLUGGS survey: combining stellar and globular cluster metallicities in the outer regions of early-type galaxies

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-08-11, 00:00 authored by Nicola PastorelloNicola Pastorello, Duncan A Forbes, Christopher Usher, Jean P Brodie, Aaron J Romanowsky, Jay Strader, Lee R Spitler, Adebusola B Alabi, Caroline Foster, Zachary G Jennings, Sreeja S Kartha, Vincenzo Pota
The outer halo regions of early-type galaxies carry key information about their past accretion history. However, spectroscopically probing the stellar component at such galactocentric radii is still challenging. Using Keck/DEIMOS, we have been able to measure the metallicities of the stellar and globular cluster components in 12 early-type galaxies out to more than 10 Re. We find similar metallicity gradients for the metal-poor and metal-rich globular cluster subpopulations, suggesting a common formation process for the two subpopulations. This is in conflict with most current theoretical predictions, where the metal-poor globular clusters are thought to be purely accreted and metal-rich globular clusters mostly formed in-situ. Moreover, we find that the globular cluster metallicity gradients show a trend with galaxy mass, being steeper in lower-mass galaxies than in higher-mass galaxies. This is similar to what we find for the outermost galaxy stars and suggests a more active accretion history, with a larger role played by major mergers, in the most massive galaxies. This conclusion is qualitatively consistent with expectations from two-phase galaxy assembly models. Finally, we find that the small difference in metallicity between galaxy stars and metal-rich globular clusters at 1 Re may correlate with galaxy mass. The origin of this difference is not currently clear.



Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society






2625 - 2639


Oxford University Press (OUP)


Oxford, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, The Authors