In Astrophysics and Space Science, v. 291, Issue 3, p. 215-222 (2004).
astro-ph/0308509

For a PDF version of the article, click here.

THE UV UPTURN: FROM M32 TO DISTANT CLUSTERS

Thomas M. Brown


Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA


Abstract: I review the observational constraints on the stars responsible for the upturn in the UV spectra of ellipticals, ranging from galaxies in the local Universe to distant clusters. In nearby galaxies, this UV upturn is produced by a minority population of extreme horizontal branch (EHB) stars, with the large variations observed in the UV-to-optical flux ratio driven by variations in the number of EHB stars, and not the type of UV-bright stars. Deep UV images of the nearest elliptical galaxy, M32, show that it has a well-populated EHB, even though it has the weakest UV upturn of any known elliptical galaxy. However, M32 suffers from a striking dearth of the hot post-HB stars expected from canonical evolutionary theory. As we observe to larger lookback times in more distant galaxy clusters, the UV upturn fades, as predicted by theories of stellar and galactic evolution, but does so gradually. Because the EHB stars do not appear suddenly in the Universe, their presence is likely driven by a large dispersion in the parameters that govern HB morphology.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

SPECTROSCOPY OF NEARBY ELLIPTICAL GALAXIES

UV IMAGES OF M32

THE EVOLUTION OF THE UV UPTURN

SUMMARY

REFERENCES

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