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The ATLAS^(3D) Project – XXIII. Angular momentum and nuclear surface brightness profiles

Krajnović, Davor and Alatalo, Katherine (2013) The ATLAS^(3D) Project – XXIII. Angular momentum and nuclear surface brightness profiles. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 433 (4). pp. 2812-2839. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stt905.

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We investigate nuclear light profiles in 135 ATLAS^(3D) galaxies for which the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging is available and compare them to the large-scale kinematics obtained with the SAURON integral-field spectrograph. Specific angular momentum, λ_R, correlates with the shape of nuclear light profiles, where, as suggested by previous studies, cores are typically found in slow rotators and core-less galaxies are fast rotators. As also shown before, cores are found only in massive galaxies and only in systems with the stellar mass (measured via dynamical models) M ≳ 8 × 10^(10) M⊙. Based on our sample, we, however, see no evidence for a bimodal distribution of nuclear slopes. The best predictor for finding a core is based on the stellar velocity dispersion within an effective radius, σ_e, and specific angular momentum, where cores are found for λ_R ≲ 0.25 and σ_e ≳ 160 km s^(−1). We estimate that only about 10 per cent of nearby early-type galaxies contain cores. Furthermore, we show that there is a genuine population of fast rotators with cores. We also show that core fast rotators are morphologically, kinematically and dynamically different from core slow rotators. The cores of fast rotators, however, could harbour black holes of similar masses to those in core slow rotators, but typically more massive than those found in core-less fast rotators. Cores of both fast and slow rotators are made of old stars and found in galaxies typically lacking molecular or atomic gas (with a few exceptions). Core-less galaxies, and especially core-less fast rotators, are underluminous in the diffuse X-ray emission, but the presence of a core does not imply high X-ray luminosities. Additionally, we postulate (as many of these galaxies lack HST imaging) a possible population of core-less galaxies among slow rotators, which cannot be explained as face-on discs, but comprise a genuine sub-population of slow rotators. These galaxies are typically less massive and flatter than core slow rotators, and show evidence for dynamical cold structures and exponential photometric components. Based on our findings, major non-dissipative (gas-poor) mergers together with black hole binary evolution may not be the only path for formation of cores in early-type galaxies. We discuss possible processes for formation of cores and their subsequent preservation.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper DOIArticle
Alatalo, Katherine0000-0002-4261-2326
Additional Information:© 2013 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2013 May 21. Received 2013 May 20; in original form 2013 February 15. First published online: July 2, 2013. We thank Laura Ferrarese, Patrick Côté and the ACSVCS team for providing the 44 light profiles of Virgo Cluster galaxies. MC acknowledges support a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. MS acknowledges support from an STFC Advanced Fellowship ST/F009186/1. RMcD is supported by the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., on behalf of the international Gemini partnership of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. SK acknowledges support from the Royal Society Joint Projects Grant JP0869822. TN and MBois acknowledge support from the DFG Cluster of Excellence ‘Origin and Structure of the Universe’. PS is an NWO/Veni fellow. LY acknowledges support from NSF AST-1109803. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (/FP7/2007-2013/) under grant agreement No. 229517. This work was supported by the rolling grants ‘Astrophysics at Oxford’ PP/E001114/1 and ST/H002456/1 and visitors grants PPA/V/S/2002/00553, PP/E001564/1 and ST/H504862/1 from the UK Research Councils. Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive, which is a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI/NASA), the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF/ESA) and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC/NRC/CSA).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/F009186/1
Gemini ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
Royal SocietyJP0869822
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)UNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)229517
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)PP/E001114/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/H002456/1
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)PPA/V/S/2002/00553
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)PP/E001564/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/H504862/1
Subject Keywords:galaxies: elliptical and lenticular; cD; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation; galaxies: kinematics and dynamics; galaxies: nuclei; galaxies: structure
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130904-094835899
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41078
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Sep 2013 21:45
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:25

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