We use the Keck Cosmic Web Imager integral field unit spectrograph to (1) measure the global stellar population parameters for the ultra-diffuse galaxy (UDG) Dragonfly 44 (DF44) to much higher precision than previously possible for any UDG and (2) for the first time measure spatially resolved stellar population parameters of a UDG. We find that DF44 falls below the mass-metallicity relation established by canonical dwarf galaxies both in and beyond the Local Group. We measure a flat radial age gradient ( log Gyr kpc-1) and a flat to positive metallicity gradient ( dex kpc-1), which are inconsistent with the gradients measured in similarly pressure-supported dwarf galaxies. We also measure a negative [Mg/Fe] gradient ( ) dex kpc-1 such that the central 1.5 kpc of DF44 has stellar population parameters comparable to metal-poor globular clusters. Overall, DF44 does not have internal properties similar to other dwarf galaxies and is inconsistent with it having been puffed up through a prolonged, bursty star formation history, as suggested by some simulations. Rather, the evidence indicates that DF44 experienced an intense epoch of "inside-out"star formation and then quenched early and catastrophically, such that star formation was cut off more quickly than in canonical dwarf galaxies.
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Physics and Astronomy
Alexa Villaume, Aaron J. Romanowsky, Jean Brodie, Pieter Van Dokkum, Charlie Conroy, Duncan A. Forbes, Shany Danieli, Christopher Martin, and Matt Matuszewski. "Spatially Resolved Stellar Spectroscopy of the Ultra-diffuse Galaxy Dragonfly 44. III. Evidence for an Unexpected Star Formation History under Conventional Galaxy Evolution Processes" Astrophysical Journal (2022). https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac341e