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Title: The nature and origin of disky elliptical galaxies
Author: McDermid, Richard Morgan
ISNI:       0000 0001 3623 6312
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2002
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The observational trend that disky elliptical galaxies exhibit younger luminosity- weighted ages than boxy ellipticals is investigated. The presence of a possible young stellar disk embedded in these galaxies is explored by comparing kinematics derived from the near-infrared Calcium II triplet (around 8600 Å) and Hβ (4863 Å) Balmer line, thought to be sensitive to older and younger stars respectively. Using synthetic stellar population spectra of these two wavelength regions, it is found that a young disk component produces observable differences in the kinematics derived from the two wavelength regions. Specifically, very young disks produce differences in the Gauss-Hermite coefficients, h(_3) and h(_4). Disks with an intermediate age produce offsets in the rotation velocities. Older disks produce clear two-component structure in the derived LOSVDs. Thus, diagnostic indicators are established which can be applied to observations. A comparison is presented of the major- and minor-axis kinematics derived from the Calcium II triplet and Hβ absorption features for a small sample of disky elliptical galaxies with enhanced Hβ absorption strength, indicative of a young component. For two galaxies in the sample, NGC 584 and NGC 821, Hβ gives a rotation velocity higher than that from the Calcium II triplet. These offsets are not consistent with the spectral models, since the offsets in velocity are not accompanied by the expected offsets in the other LOSVD parameters. This implies that the disks have either formed over time with a modest star- formation rate; or that the young stars in these systems are present in both the disk and spheroid components. From dynamical modelling of ground-based integral-field spectroscopy combined with HST STIS data, the disky elliptical NGC 821 is found to have a mass-to-light ratio of 4.12± 0.06 in I-band solar units, and harbours a central black hole of mass (3.41 ± 0.68) x 10(^7) M(_ʘ). This black hole mass is consistent with Gebhardt et al. (2002), who use the same STIS data with their independent modelling code. The phase-space distribution of the orbits in the model shows evidence for a two-component structure, which corresponds to a slowly rotating spheroidal component superimposed with a flattened, strongly rotating component. This second component, which has properties similar to a disk, accounts for 15% of the total system mass. Applying the two-component stellar population models, a disk of this mass would have formed 6 Gyr ago to produce the observed Hβ absorption. Such a disk is not consistent with the long-slit observations, as no offset was found between the Calcium II triplet and Hβ velocity dispersions. However, this cannot be strongly excluded due to the effects of metallicity and disk velocity dispersion on the spectral modelling.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Early-type galaxies