The spatial distribution and kinematics of stellar populations in E + A galaxies

Stuart A. Norton, Karl Gebhardt, Ann I Zabludoff, Dennis F Zaritsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use long-slit spectroscopic observations of the sample of E + A galaxies described by Zabludoff et al. to constrain the nature of the progenitors and remnants of the E + A phase of galaxy evolution. We measure spatially resolved kinematic properties of the young ( ≲ 1 Gyr) and old ( ≳ few Gyr) stellar populations. The young stellar populations are more centrally concentrated than the older populations, but they are not confined to the galaxy core (radius ≲ 1 kpc). The kinematics of the old stellar population place 16 of 20 of our E +As on a trend parallel to the Faber-Jackson relation that is offset by ∼0.6 mag in R. Eighteen of 20 E+ As have v/σ < 1. As the young stars in these systems evolve, the luminosity offset will disappear, and the remnants will be pressure-supported systems that lie on the Faber-Jackson relation. Although Zabludoff et al. spectroscopically selected the most extreme E + A galaxies in the local volume, the sample is kinematically diverse: velocity dispersions range from ≲30 km s-1 to ∼200 km s-1 over a luminosity range of MR = -19 to -22 + 5 log h. Combining these results with an estimate of the number of galaxies that experience an E + A phase, we conclude that the E + A phase of galaxy evolution is important in the development of a large fraction of spheroid-dominated galaxies over a wide range of luminosities and masses. Our kinematic observations, together with evidence that E + As have recently evolved from a vigorous star-forming phase to a quiescent phase (e.g., Couch & Sharpies; Caldwell et al.) and that many have tidal features consistent with disklike progenitors (Zabludoff et al.), indicate that these galaxies are undergoing a transformation from gas-rich, star-forming, rotationally supported, disk-dominated galaxies into gas-poor, quiescent, pressure-supported, spheroid-dominated galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-164
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume557
Issue number1 PART 1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 10 2001

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Galaxies : evolution
  • Galaxies : interactions
  • Galaxies : kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies : stellar content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this