NASA/IPAC EXTRAGALACTIC DATABASE
Date and Time of the Query: 2019-06-25 T00:35:45 PDT
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For refcode 2011ApJ...743..150Y:
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Copyright by American Astronomical Society. Reproduced by permission
2011ApJ...743..150Y Nonlinear Color-Metallicity Relations of Globular Clusters. III. On the Discrepancy in Metallicity between Globular Cluster Systems and Their Parent Elliptical Galaxies Yoon, Suk-Jin; Lee, Sang-Yoon; Blakeslee, John P.; Peng, Eric W.; Sohn, Sangmo T.; Cho, Jaeil; Kim, Hak-Sub; Chung, Chul; Kim, Sooyoung; Lee, Young-Wook Abstract. One of the conundrums in extragalactic astronomy is the discrepancy in observed metallicity distribution functions (MDFs) between the two prime stellar components of early-type galaxies---globular clusters (GCs) and halo field stars. This is generally taken as evidence of highly decoupled evolutionary histories between GC systems and their parent galaxies. Here we show, however, that new developments in linking the observed GC colors to their intrinsic metallicities suggest nonlinear color-to-metallicity conversions, which translate observed color distributions into strongly peaked, unimodal MDFs with broad metal-poor tails. Remarkably, the inferred GC MDFs are similar to the MDFs of resolved field stars in nearby elliptical galaxies and those produced by chemical evolution models of galaxies. The GC MDF shape, characterized by a sharp peak with a metal-poor tail, indicates a virtually continuous chemical enrichment with a relatively short timescale. The characteristic shape emerges across three orders of magnitude in the host galaxy mass, suggesting a universal process of chemical enrichment among various GC systems. Given that GCs are bluer than field stars within the same galaxy, it is plausible that the chemical enrichment processes of GCs ceased somewhat earlier than that of the field stellar population, and if so, GCs preferentially trace the major, vigorous mode of star formation events in galactic formation. We further suggest a possible systematic age difference among GC systems, in that the GC systems in more luminous galaxies are older. This is consistent with the downsizing paradigm whereby stars of brighter galaxies, on average, formed earlier than those of dimmer galaxies; this additionally supports the similar nature shared by GCs and field stars. Although the sample used in this study (the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys/Wide Field Channel, WFPC2, and WFC3 photometry for the GC systems in the Virgo galaxy cluster) confines our discussion to R <~ R_e_ for giant ellipticals and <~10 R_e_ for normal ellipticals, our findings suggest that GC systems and their parent galaxies have shared a more common origin than previously thought, and hence greatly simplify theories of galaxy formation. Key words: galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: individual: M84 M87 NGC 147 NGC 3377 NGC 3379 NGC 5128, galaxies: star clusters: general, globular clusters: general
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