The evolutionary history of early-type galaxies as derived from the fundamental plane
Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 276, Numbers 2-4, 2001 , pp. 983-990(8)
The fundamental plane (FP) scaling relations and their evolution are a powerful tool for studying the global properties of early-type galaxies and their evolutionary history. The form of the FP, as derived by surveys in the local Universe at wavelengths ranging from the U to the K band, cannot be explained by metallicity variations alone among early-type galaxies; systematic variations in age, dark matter content, or homology breaking are required. A large-scale study of early-type galaxies at 0.1 < z < 0.6 demonstrates that the SB intercept of the FP, the rest frame (U-V) colour, and the absorption line strengths all evolve passively, thereby implying a high mean formation redshift for the stellar content. The slope of the FP evolves with redshift, which is broadly consistent with systematic age effects occurring along the early-type galaxy sequence. The implication that the least luminous early-type galaxies formed later than the luminous galaxies is discussed in the context of the evolution of the colourmagnitude relation, the ButcherOemler effect and hierarchical galaxy formation models.
Document Type: Regular paper
Affiliations: 1: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Mail Stop 20, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.; E-mail: email@example.com 2: Palomar Observatory, California Institute of Technology, Mail Stop 105-24, Pasadena, CA 91125, U.S.A.; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 3: Departamento de Astrofisica, Observatorio Nacional, MCT, Rua General José Cristino 77, 20921-030 São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; E-mail: email@example.com
Publication date: 2001-01-01