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Elemental Abundances in M31: A Comparative Analysis of Alpha and Iron Element Abundances in the the Outer Disk, Giant Stellar Stream, and Inner Halo of M31

Escala, Ivanna and Gilbert, Karoline M. and Kirby, Evan N. and Wojno, Jennifer and Cunningham, Emily C. and Guhathakurta, Puragra (2020) Elemental Abundances in M31: A Comparative Analysis of Alpha and Iron Element Abundances in the the Outer Disk, Giant Stellar Stream, and Inner Halo of M31. Astrophysical Journal, 889 (2). Art. No. 177. ISSN 1538-4357.

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We measured [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] using spectral synthesis of low-resolution stellar spectroscopy for 70 individual red-giant-branch stars across four fields spanning the outer disk, Giant Stellar Stream (GSS), and inner halo of M31. Fields at M31-centric projected distances of 23 kpc in the halo, 12 kpc in the halo, 22 kpc in the GSS, and 26 kpc in the outer disk are α-enhanced, with ⟨ [α/Fe]〉= 0.43, 0.50, 0.41, and 0.58, respectively. The 23 and 12 kpc halo fields are relatively metal-poor, with ⟨ [Fe/H]⟩ = −1.54 and −1.30, whereas the 22 kpc GSS and 26 kpc outer disk fields are relatively metal-rich with ⟨ [Fe/H]⟩ = −0.84 and −0.92, respectively. For fields with substructure, we separated the stellar populations into kinematically hot stellar halo components and kinematically cold components. We did not find any evidence of a radial [α/Fe] gradient along the high surface brightness core of the GSS between ~17 and 22 kpc. However, we found tentative suggestions of a negative radial [α/Fe] gradient in the stellar halo, which may indicate that different progenitor(s) or formation mechanisms contributed to the build up of the inner versus outer halo. Additionally, the [α/Fe] distribution of the metal-rich ([Fe/H] > −1.5), smooth inner stellar halo (r_(proj) ≾ 26 kpc) is inconsistent with having formed from the disruption of a progenitor(s) similar to present-day M31 satellite galaxies. The 26 kpc outer disk is most likely associated with the extended disk of M31, where its high α-enhancement provides support for an episode of rapid star formation in M31's disk possibly induced by a major merger.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Escala, Ivanna0000-0002-9933-9551
Gilbert, Karoline M.0000-0003-0394-8377
Kirby, Evan N.0000-0001-6196-5162
Wojno, Jennifer0000-0002-3233-3032
Cunningham, Emily C.0000-0002-6993-0826
Guhathakurta, Puragra0000-0001-8867-4234
Additional Information:© 2020. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2019 July 30; revised 2019 December 20; accepted 2019 December 28; published 2020 February 5. The authors thank the anonymous reviewer for a thorough reading of this manuscript and helpful comments. We also thank Stephen Gwyn for reducing the photometry for slitmasks H, S, and D and Jason Kalirai for the reductions of f130_2. I.E. acknowledges support from a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship under grant No. DGE-1745301. This material is based upon work supported by the NSF under grant Nos. AST-1614081 (E.N.K.), AST-1614569 (K.M.G, J.W.), and AST-1412648 (P.G.). E.N.K gratefully acknowledges support from a Cottrell Scholar award administered by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, as well as funding from generous donors to the California Institute of Technology. E.C.C. was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and an ARCS Foundation Fellowship, as well as NSF grant AST-1616540. The analysis pipeline used to reduce the DEIMOS data was developed at UC Berkeley with support from NSF grant AST- 0071048. We are grateful to the many people who have worked to make the Keck Telescope and its instruments a reality and to operate and maintain the Keck Observatory. The authors wish to extend special thanks to those of Hawaiian ancestry on whose sacred mountain we are privileged to be guests. Without their generous hospitality, none of the observations presented herein would have been possible. Facility: Keck II/DEIMOS. - Software: astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013, 2018), emcee (Foreman-Mackey et al. 2013).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1745301
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Andromeda galaxy ; Stellar abundances ; Galaxy stellar halos ; Local Group; Galaxy stellar disks ; Galaxy formation
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Andromeda Galaxy (39); Stellar abundances (1577); Galaxy stellar halos (598); Local Group (929); Galaxy stellar disks (1594); Galaxy formation (595)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200206-125056795
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Official Citation:Ivanna Escala et al 2020 ApJ 889 177
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101166
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:07 Feb 2020 18:26
Last Modified:07 Feb 2020 18:26

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