Volume 516, June-July 2010
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Published online||20 July 2010|
A close look at the Centaurus A group of galaxies
I. Metallicity distribution functions and population gradients in early-type dwarfs
Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, Zentrum für Astronomie der
Universität Heidelberg, Mönchhofstrasse 12-14, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Accepted: 26 January 2010
Aims. We study dwarf galaxies in the Centaurus A group to investigate their metallicity and possible environmental effects. The Centaurus A group (at ~4 Mpc from the Milky Way) contains about 50 known dwarf companions of different morphologies and stellar contents, thus making it a very interesting target to study how these galaxies evolve.
Methods. Here we present results for the early-type dwarf galaxy population in this group. We used archival HST/ACS data to study the resolved stellar content of 6 galaxies, together with isochrones from the Dartmouth stellar evolutionary models.
Results. We derive photometric metallicity distribution functions of stars on the upper red giant branch via isochrone interpolation. The 6 galaxies are moderately metal-poor ([Fe/H] = -1.56 to -1.08), and metallicity spreads are observed (internal dispersions of σ[Fe/H] = 0.10–0.41 dex). We also investigate whether intermediate-age stars are present, and discuss how these affect our results. The dwarfs exhibit flat to weak radial metallicity gradients. For the two most luminous, most metal-rich galaxies, we find statistically significant evidence of at least two stellar subpopulations: the more metal-rich stars are found in the center of the galaxies, while the metal-poor ones are more broadly distributed within the galaxies.
Conclusions. We find no clear trend in the derived physical properties as a function of (present-day) galaxy position in the group, which may come from the small sample we investigate. We compare our results to the early-type dwarf population of the Local Group, and find no outstanding differences, even though the Centaurus A group is a denser environment that is possibly in a more advanced dynamical stage.
Key words: galaxies: dwarf / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: photometry / galaxies: groups: individual: CenA group / galaxies: stellar content
© ESO, 2010
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