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- Evidence for two phases of galaxy formation from radial trends in the globular cluster system of NGC 1407
- Forbes, Duncan A.; Spitler, Lee R.; Strader, Jay; Romanowsky, Aaron J.; Brodie, Jean P.; Foste, Caroline
- Here we present the colours of individual globular clusters (GCs) around the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 1407 out to a projected galactocentric radius of 140 kpc or 17 galaxy eﬀective radii (Re). Such data are a proxy for the halo metallicity. We ﬁnd steep, and similar, metallicity gradients of ∼ –0.4 dex per dex for both the blue (metal-poor) and red (metal-rich) GC subpopulations within 5–8.5 Re (40–70 kpc). At larger radii the mean GC colours (metallicity) are constant. A similar behaviour is seen in a wide-ﬁeld study of M87’s GC system, and in our own Galaxy. We interpret these radial metallicity trends to indicate an inner region formed by early in-situ dissipative processes and an outer halo formed by ongoing accretion of low mass galaxies and their GCs. These results provide observational support for the model of galaxy formation whereby massive galaxies form inside-out in two phases. We have also searched the literature for other massive early-type galaxies with reported GC metallicity gradients in their inner regions. No obvious correlation with galaxy mass or environment is found but the sample is currently small.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies. Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 413, no. 4 (Jun 2011), pp. 2943-2949
- Publication year
- Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2011 The Authors. Journal compilation copyright © 2011 Royal Astronomical Society. The accepted manuscript is reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive publication is available at www.interscience.wiley.com.