Volume 644, December 2020
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Published online||15 December 2020|
Shedding light on the formation mechanism of shell galaxy NGC 474 with MUSE⋆
Univ. Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Univ. Lyon 1, CNRS, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, UMR5574, 69007 Lyon, France
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
3 Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg (ObAS), Université de Strasbourg – CNRS, UMR7550, Strasbourg, France
4 University of Tampa, 401 West Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33606, USA
5 Univ. Lyon, Univ. Lyon 1, ENS de Lyon, CNRS, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, UMR5574, 69230 Saint-Genis-Laval, France
6 Department of Physics & Astronomy, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH 44555, USA
7 Department of Astronomy, School of Physics and Astronomy, and Shanghai Key Laboratory for Particle Physics and Cosmology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, PR China
8 Department of Astronomy, Peking University, Yi He Yuan Lu 5, Hai Dian District, Beijing 100871, PR China
9 Kavli Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics and Department of Astronomy, Peking University, Yi He Yuan Lu 5, Hai Dian District, Beijing 100871, PR China
10 Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), 776 Daedeokdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34055, Korea
Accepted: 4 November 2020
Stellar shells around galaxies could provide precious insights into their assembly history. However, their formation mechanism remains poorly empirically constrained, regarding in particular the type of galaxy collisions at their origin. We present MUSE at VLT data of the most prominent outer shell of NGC 474, to constrain its formation history. The stellar shell spectrum is clearly detected, with a signal-to-noise ratio of ∼65 pix−1. We used a full spectral fitting method to determine the line-of-sight velocity and the age and metallicity of the shell and associated point-like sources within the MUSE field of view. We detect six globular cluster (GC) candidates and eight planetary nebula (PN) candidates that are all kinematically associated with the stellar shell. We show that the shell has an intermediate metallicity, [M/H] = −0.83−0.12+0.12, and a possible α-enrichment, [α/Fe] ∼ 0.3. Assuming the material of the shell comes from a lower mass companion, and that the latter had no initial metallicity gradient, such a stellar metallicity would constrain the mass of the progenitor at around 7.4 × 108 M⊙, implying a merger mass ratio of about 1:100. However, our census of PNe and earlier photometry of the shell would suggest a much higher ratio, around 1:20. Given the uncertainties, this difference is only significant at the ≃1σ level. We discuss the characteristics of the progenitor, and in particular whether the progenitor could also be composed of stars from the low-metallicity outskirts of a more massive galaxy. Ultimately, the presented data do not allow us to put a firm constraint on the progenitor mass. We show that at least two GC candidates possibly associated with the shell are quite young, with ages below 1.5 Gyr. We also note the presence of a young (∼1 Gyr) stellar population in the center of NGC 474. The two may have resulted from the same event.
Key words: galaxies: interactions / galaxies: peculiar / galaxies: star clusters: general / galaxies: halos
© J. Fensch et al. 2020
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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