The stellar kinematics of the spheroids and discs of S0 galaxies contain clues to their formation histories. Unfortunately, it is difficult to disentangle the two components and to recover their stellar kinematics in the faint outer parts of the galaxies using conventional absorption line spectroscopy. This paper therefore presents the stellar kinematics of six S0 galaxies derived from observations of planetary nebulae, obtained using the Planetary Nebula Spectrograph. To separate the kinematics of the two components, we use a maximum-likelihood method that combines the discrete kinematic data with a photometric component decomposition. The results of this analysis reveal that: the discs of S0 galaxies are rotationally supported; however, the amount of random motion in these discs is systematically higher than in comparable spiral galaxies; and the S0s lie around one magnitude below the Tully–Fisher relation for spiral galaxies, while their spheroids lie nearly one magnitude above the Faber–Jackson relation for ellipticals. All of these findings are consistent with a scenario in which spirals are converted into S0s through a process of mild harassment or ‘pestering,’ with their discs somewhat heated and their spheroid somewhat enhanced by the conversion process. In such a scenario, one might expect the properties of S0s to depend on environment. We do not see such an effect in this fairly small sample, although any differences would be diluted by the fact that the current location does not necessarily reflect the environment in which the transformation occurred. Similar observations of larger samples probing a broader range of environments, coupled with more detailed modelling of the transformation process to match the wide range of parameters that we have shown can now be measured, should take us from these first steps to the definitive answer as to how S0 galaxies form.
A. Cortesi, M. R. Merrifield, L. Coccato, M. Arnaboldi, O. Gerhard, Aaron J. Romanowsky, N. G. Douglass, K. Kuiijken, M. Capaccioli, K. C. Freeman, K. Saha, and A. L. Chies-Santos. "Planetary Nebula Spectrograph survey of S0 galaxy kinematics – II. Clues to the origins of S0 galaxies" Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2013): 1010-1020. doi:10.1093/mnras/stt529