Stellar populations of early-type galaxies in different environments
II. Ages and metallicities
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Observatoire, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland e-mail: Patricia.SanchezBlazquez@epfl.ch
2 Dpto. de Astrofísica, Fac. de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
3 Calar Alto Observatory, CAHA, Apartado 511, 04004 Almería, Spain
4 Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo-Postal 70–264, México D.F, México
Accepted: 26 April 2006
Aims.This is the second paper of a series devoted to the study of the stellar content of early-type galaxies. The goal of the series is to set constraints on the evolutionary status of these objects
Methods.We use a new set of models that include an improved stellar library (MILES) to derive simple stellar population (SSP)-equivalent parameters in a sample of 98 early-type galaxies. The sample contains galaxies in the field, poor groups, and galaxies in the Virgo and Coma clusters.
Results.We find that low-density environment galaxies span a larger range in SSP age and metallicity than their counterparts in high density environments, with a tendency for lower σ galaxies to be younger. Early-type galaxies in low-density environments appear on average ~1.5 Gyr younger and more metal rich than their counterparts in high density environments. The sample of low-density environment galaxies shows an age-metallicity relation in which younger galaxies are found to be more metal rich, but only when metallicity is measured with a Fe-sensitive index. Conversely, there is no age-metallicity relation when the metallicity is measured with a Mg sensitive index. The mass-metallicity relation is only appreciable for the low-density environment galaxies when the metallicity is measured with a Mg-sensitive index, and not when the metallicity is measured with other indicators. On the contrary, this relation exists for the high-density environment galaxies independent of the indicator used to measure the metallicity.
Conclusions.This suggests a dependence of the mass-metallicity relation on the environment of the galaxies. Our data favour a scenario in which galaxies in low density environments have suffered a more extended star formation history than the galaxies in the Coma cluster, which appear to host more homogenous stellar populations.
Key words: galaxies: abundances / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / Galaxy: stellar content / Galaxy: formation
© ESO, 2006