Volume 652, August 2021
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||19 August 2021|
The Fornax 3D project: PNe populations and stellar metallicity in edge-on galaxies
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG, UK
2 Astrophysics Research centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 INN, UK
3 Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
4 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
5 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Vía Láctea s/n, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
6 Depto. Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, Calle Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez s/n, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
7 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
8 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia ‘G. Galilei’, Università di Padova, vicolo dell’Osservatorio 3, 35122 Padova, Italy
9 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
10 Sterrewacht Leiden, Leiden University, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
11 Max-Planck-Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85741 Garching bei Muenchen, Germany
12 INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello 16, 80131 Naples, Italy
13 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
14 ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D), Sydney, Australia
15 Instituto de Astronomía y Ciencias Planetarias, Universidad de Atacama, Avenida Copayapu 485, Copiapó, Chile
16 Department of Astrophysics, University of Vienna, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
17 Sterrenkundig Observatorium, Universiteit Gent, Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Gent, Belgium
18 Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 80 Nandan Road, Shanghai 200030, PR China
Accepted: 16 June 2021
Context. Extragalactic planetary nebulae (PNe) are useful distance indicators and are often used to trace the dark-matter content in external galaxies. At the same time, PNe can also be used as probes of their host galaxy stellar populations and to help understand the later stages of stellar evolution. Previous works have indicated that a specific number of PNe per stellar luminosity can vary across different galaxies and as a function of stellar-population properties, for instance increasing with decreasing stellar metallicity.
Aims. In this study we further explore the importance of stellar metallicity in driving the properties of the PNe population in early-type galaxies, using three edge-on galaxies in the Fornax cluster offering a clear view into their predominantly metal-rich and metal-poor regions near the equatorial plane or both below and above it, respectively.
Methods. Using very large telescope-multi unit spectroscopic explorer (VLT-MUSE) integral-field observations and dedicated PNe detection procedures, we constructed the PNe luminosity function and computed the luminosity-specific number of PNe α in both in- and off-plane regions of our edge-on systems.
Results. Comparing these α values with metallicity measurements also based on the same MUSE data, we find no evidence for an increase in the specific abundance of PNe when transitioning between metal-rich and metal-poor regions.
Conclusions. Our analysis highlights the importance of ensuring spatial consistency to avoid misleading results when investigating the link between PNe and their parent stellar populations, and suggest that in passively evolving systems variations in the specific number of PNe may pertain to rather extreme metallicity regimes found either in the innermost or outermost regions of galaxies.
Key words: planetary nebulae: general / galaxies: abundances / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / techniques: imaging spectroscopy / methods: observational
© ESO 2021
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