Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published January 2015 | Published + Submitted + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

The ATLAS^(3D) project – XXIX. The new look of early-type galaxies and surrounding fields disclosed by extremely deep optical images


Galactic archaeology based on star counts is instrumental to reconstruct the past mass assembly of Local Group galaxies. The development of new observing techniques and data reduction, coupled with the use of sensitive large field of view cameras, now allows us to pursue this technique in more distant galaxies exploiting their diffuse low surface brightness (LSB) light. As part of the ATLAS^(3D) project, we have obtained with the MegaCam camera at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope extremely deep, multiband images of nearby early-type galaxies (ETGs). We present here a catalogue of 92 galaxies from the ATLAS^(3D) sample, which are located in low- to medium-density environments. The observing strategy and data reduction pipeline, which achieve a gain of several magnitudes in the limiting surface brightness with respect to classical imaging surveys, are presented. The size and depth of the survey are compared to other recent deep imaging projects. The paper highlights the capability of LSB-optimized surveys at detecting new prominent structures that change the apparent morphology of galaxies. The intrinsic limitations of deep imaging observations are also discussed, among those, the contamination of the stellar haloes of galaxies by extended ghost reflections, and the cirrus emission from Galactic dust. The detection and systematic census of fine structures that trace the present and past mass assembly of ETGs are one of the prime goals of the project. We provide specific examples of each type of observed structures – tidal tails, stellar streams and shells – and explain how they were identified and classified. We give an overview of the initial results. The detailed statistical analysis will be presented in future papers.

Additional Information

© 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2014 September 25. Received 2014 September 23; in original form 2014 August 8. First published online November 10, 2014. The paper is based on observations obtained with MegaPrime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institute National des Sciences de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France and the University of Hawaii. All observations were made as part of the service mode offered by the CFHT. We are grateful to the queue team for their dedication and for the anonymous referee. The project greatly benefited from the experience of the NGVS team members, in particular Laura Ferrarese, Patrick Côté, Chris Mihos, and discussions with Etienne Ferrière, Rodrigo Ibata and David Valls-Gabaud who contributed very much to the advance of LSB science. We are grateful to Velimir Popov and Emil Ivanov who run the robotic amateur Irida observatory in Bulgaria, obtained and reduced the image of NGC 474 shown in Fig. 7. We warmly thank Hervé Dole who extracted the Planck images we used to estimate cirrus contamination. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. P-AD acknowledges support from Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR10-BLANC-0506-01). LM-D acknowledges support from the Lyon Institute of Origins under grant ANR-10-LABX-66. MC acknowledges support from a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. This work was supported by the rolling grants 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. RLD acknowledges travel and computer grants from Christ Church, Oxford, and support from the Royal Society in the form of a Wolfson Merit Award 502011.K502/jd. SK acknowledges support from the Royal Society Joint Projects Grant JP0869822. TN acknowledges support from the DFG Cluster of Excellence 'Origin and Structure of the Universe'. MS acknowledges support from a STFC Advanced Fellowship ST/F009186/1. LMY acknowledges support from NSF grant AST-1109803. TAD acknowledges the support provided by an ESO fellowship. 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. The authors acknowledge financial support from ESO.

Attached Files

Published - 120.full.pdf

Submitted - 1410.0981v1.pdf

Supplemental Material - at3dmeg2.etables.pdf

Supplemental Material - catalog.pdf


Files (68.1 MB)
Name Size Download all
8.7 MB Preview Download
17.5 MB Preview Download
55.5 kB Preview Download
41.8 MB Preview Download

Additional details

August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023