Document Type

Article

Publication Date

August 2015

Abstract

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 the DEep Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph on the Keck, we have been able to measure the metallicities of the stellar and globular cluster components in 12 early-type galaxies out to more than 10Re. 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 1Re may correlate with galaxy mass. The origin of this difference is not currently clear.

Comments

This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2015 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.This article can also be found online at this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stv1131

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