From the centers to the outskirts of massive early-type galaxies

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Speaker :  
Dr. Paolo Bonfini (University of Crete)
Location :  
2nd Floor Seminar Room
Date :  

Time : 

Abstract :

In the framework of the hierarchical galaxy formation scenario, massive
early-type galaxies (ETGs) are considered the end points of the merger tree.
Unfortunately, despite they represent the ideal "laboratories" to test models of
mass assembly, their smooth morphologies and uniform stellar populations have
long hindered the attempts to investigate their formation.

However, a careful look reveals that ETGs present several tell-tale
characteristics which can be used to follow their evolution. In fact, after a
massive ETG is assembled through a major merger, its core is shaped by the
action of a super-massive black hole (SMBH) binary which increasingly remove
central stars. At the same time, the post-merger features present in the ETG
outskirts (e.g. ripples, shells, streams, and tidal tails; commonly referred to
as "fine structures"), progressively fade out as the galaxy potential relaxes.
Similarly, it is expected that any dust accreted during the merger is initially
diffused throughout the galaxy and then gradually settles towards the center.

We hereby present the first study linking the temporal co-evolution of ETG
"fine structures" and of the SMBH binaries which are assembled in the same
merger which shaped the ETG. We show the existence of a scaling relation between
"fine structure" prominence and stellar mass removed from the "core",
consistently with the hierarchical galaxy formation scenario.

We additionally present a new methodology to perform radiative-transfer
modelling of dust rings in ETGs, and we demonstrate its application to the cases
of NGC 4552 and NGC 4494. We caution on how dust rings can mimic stellar
depleted "cores", and we discuss how the statistical study of rings can be
exploited to investigate the progressive settling of dust towards the center of
an ETG.