A multi-wavelength study of the evolution of early-type galaxies in groups: the ultraviolet view
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The ultraviolet–optical colour magnitude diagram of rich galaxy groups is characterised by a well developed Red Sequence, a Blue Cloud and the so-called Green Valley. Loose, less evolved groups of galaxies which are probably not virialised yet may lack a well defined Red Sequence. This is actually explained in the framework of galaxy evolution. We are focussing on understanding galaxy migration towards the Red Sequence, checking for signatures of such a transition in their photometric and morphological properties. We report on the ultraviolet properties of a sample of early-type (ellipticals+S0s) galaxies inhabiting the Red Sequence. The analysis of their structures, as derived by fitting a Sérsic law to their ultraviolet luminosity profiles, suggests the presence of an underlying disk. This is the hallmark of dissipation processes that still must have a role to play in the evolution of this class of galaxies. Smooth particle hydrodynamic simulations with chemo-photometric implementations able to match the global properties of our targets are used to derive their evolutionary paths through ultraviolet–optical colour magnitude diagrams, providing some fundamental information such as the crossing time through the Green Valley, which depends on their luminosity. The transition from the Blue Cloud to the Red Sequence takes several Gyrs, being about 3–5 Gyr for the brightest galaxies and longer for fainter ones, if occurring.
The photometric study of nearby galaxy structures in the ultraviolet is seriously hampered by either the limited field of view of the cameras (e.g., in Hubble Space Telescope) or by the low spatial resolution of the images (e.g., in the Galaxy Evolution Explorer). Current missions equipped with telescopes and cameras sensitive to ultraviolet wavelengths, such as Swift-UVOT and Astrosat-UVIT, provide a relatively large field of view and a better resolution than the Galaxy Evolution Explorer. More powerful ultraviolet instruments (size, resolution and field of view) are obviously bound to yield fundamental advances in the accuracy and depth of the surface photometry and in the characterisation of the galaxy environment.
KeywordsGalaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD Galaxies: fundamental parameters Ultraviolet: galaxies Galaxies: evolution Interactions
P. Mazzei and R. Rampazzo acknowledge partial support from INAF through grants PRIN-2014-14 “Star formation and evolution in galactic nuclei” (PI Michela Mapelli). This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extra galactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Part of this work is based on archival data, software or online services provided by the Space Science Data Center—ASI.
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