The metal contents of two groups of galaxies
SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
3 Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, 382 Via Pueblo Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-4060, USA
4 Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory and Department of Astronomy, Columbia University, 550 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027, USA
Received: 23 November 2010
Accepted: 30 March 2011
Context. The hot gas in clusters and groups of galaxies is continuously being enriched with metals from supernovae and stars. It is well established that the enrichment of the gas with elements from oxygen to iron is mainly caused by supernova explosions. The origins of nitrogen and carbon are still being debated. Possible candidates include massive, metal-rich stars, early generations of massive stars, intermediate- or low-mass stars and asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars.
Aims. In this paper we accurately determine the metal abundances of the gas in the groups of galaxies NGC 5044 and NGC 5813, and discuss the nature of the objects that create these metals. We mainly focus on carbon and nitrogen.
Methods. We use spatially-resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy from XMM-Newton. For the spectral fitting, multi-temperature hot gas models are used.
Results. The abundance ratios of carbon over oxygen and nitrogen over oxygen that we find are high compared to the ratios in the stars in the disk of our Galaxy. The oxygen and nitrogen abundances we derive are similar to what has been found in earlier work on other giant ellipticals in comparable environments. We show that the iron abundances in both our sources have a gradient along the cross-dispersion direction of the reflection gratingspectrometer (RGS).
Conclusions. We conclude that it is unlikely that the creation of nitrogen and carbon takes place in massive stars, which end their lives as core-collapse supernovae, enriching the medium with oxygen because oxygen should then also be enhanced. Therefore we favour low- and intermediate-mass stars as sources of these elements. The abundances in the hot gas can be explained best by a 30–40% contribution of type Ia supernovae based on the measured oxygen and iron abundances and under the assumption of a Salpeter initial mass function (IMF).
Key words: galaxies: abundances / X-rays: galaxies / galaxies: groups: general / galaxies: groups: individual: NGC 5044 / galaxies: groups: individual: NGC 5813 / galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
© ESO, 2011