INAF, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Università degli Studi di Trieste, Department of Astronomy, Trieste, Italy
Corresponding author: P. Merluzzi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 19 May 2003
We study the structure and the internal colour gradients of cluster galaxies from UV to NIR restframe, in the redshift range . Structural parameters (half light radius , mean surface brightness and Sersic index ) are derived for galaxies in the clusters at and at . This data set, together with previous data for the cluster at , constitutes the first large () sample of cluster galaxies whose internal structure in UV, optical (OPT) and NIR (U-, V- and H-band restframe) can be investigated up to a look-back time of (, and ). Galaxies are classified as spheroids or disks according to the shape of the light profile, and the evolution of the two populations are investigated separately. On average, both spheroids and disks are more concentrated at longer wavelengths: the galaxy sizes become smaller from UV to NIR, while Sersic indices increase. This trend shows an evolution in disks, where the mean ratio of optical to NIR Sersic indices decreases from to . Colour gradients are on average negative at all redshifts and are stronger in disks than in spheroids. But while for spheroids both and are only weakly dependent on redshift, the optical-NIR gradients of disks become significantly smaller at . Colour gradients and central colours are compared with models of metallicity, age, and dust extinction gradients. Metallicity turns out to be the primary driver of colour gradients in spheroids, the age gradient being constrained to be smaller than . For disks, two kinds of models fit the present data: (i) age gradients (in the range [30, 50]%) with significant dust extinction, and (ii) “pure” dust models, in which the gradients of colour excess are a factor of two higher in than in the other clusters. Since colour gradients of disks seem not to correlate significantly with inclination, we argue that age gradient models could represent a more likely explanation of the present data, in agreement with what expected on the basis of hierarchical merging scenarios.
Key words: galaxies: clusters: individual: A 209, AC 118, EIS 0048 / galaxies: photometry / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: fundamental parameters (colours, colour gradients, effective radii, Sersic indices)
© ESO, 2003