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On the formation mechanisms of compact elliptical galaxies
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2018)
  • Anna Ferré-Mateu, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Duncan A. Forbes, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Aaron J. Romanowsky, San Jose State University
  • Joachim Janz, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Christopher Dixon, San Jose State University
In order to investigate the formation mechanisms of the rare compact elliptical (cE) galaxies, we have compiled a sample of 25 cEs with good SDSS spectra, covering a range of stellar masses, sizes and environments. They have been visually classified according to the interaction with their host, representing different evolutionary stages. We have included clearly disrupted galaxies, galaxies that despite not showing signs of interaction are located close to a massive neighbour (thus are good candidates for a stripping process), and cEs with no host nearby. For the latter, tidal stripping is less likely to have happened and instead they could simply represent the very low-mass, faint end of the ellipticals. We study a set of properties (structural parameters, stellar populations, star formation histories and mass ratios) that can be used to discriminate between an intrinsic or stripped origin. We find that one diagnostic tool alone is inconclusive for the majority of objects. However, if we combine all the tools a clear picture emerges. The most plausible origin, as well as the evolutionary stage and progenitor type, can be then determined. Our results favour the stripping mechanism for those galaxies in groups and clusters that have a plausible host nearby, but favours an intrinsic origin for those rare cEs without a plausible host and that are located in looser environments.
  • galaxies: dwarf,
  • galaxies: evolution,
  • galaxies: formation,
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics,
  • galaxies: stellar content,
  • galaxies: elliptical and lenticular cD
Publication Date
January 11, 2018
Publisher Statement
This article was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2017 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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Citation Information
Anna Ferré-Mateu, Duncan A. Forbes, Aaron J. Romanowsky, Joachim Janz, et al.. "On the formation mechanisms of compact elliptical galaxies" Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Vol. 473 Iss. 2 (2018) p. 1819 - 1840 ISSN: 1365-2966
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