Document Type


Publication Date

February 2017


Galaxy starlight at 3.6 μm is an excellent tracer of stellar mass. Here we use the latest 3.6 μm imaging from the Spitzer Space Telescope to measure the total stellar mass and effective radii in a homogeneous way for a sample of galaxies from the SAGES Legacy Unifying Globulars and GalaxieS (SLUGGS) survey. These galaxies are representative of nearby early-type galaxies in the stellar mass range of 10 < log M*/M⊙ < 11.7 and our methodology can be applied to other samples of early-type galaxies. We model each galaxy in 2D and estimate its total asymptotic magnitude from a 1D curve-of-growth. Magnitudes are converted into stellar masses using a 3.6 μm mass-to-light ratio from the latest stellar population models of Röck et al., assuming a Kroupa initial mass function. We apply a ratio based on each galaxy's mean mass-weighted stellar age within one effective radius (the mass-to-light ratio is insensitive to galaxy metallicity for the generally old stellar ages and high metallicities found in massive early-type galaxies). Our 3.6 μm stellar masses agree well with masses derived from 2.2 μm data. From the 1D surface brightness profile, we fit a single Sérsic law, excluding the very central regions. We measure the effective radius, Sérsic n parameter and effective surface brightness for each galaxy. We find that galaxy sizes derived from shallow optical imaging and the 2MASS survey tend to underestimate the true size of the largest, most massive galaxies in our sample. We adopt the 3.6 μm stellar masses and effective radii for the SLUGGS survey galaxies.


This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2016 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 the following link:
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