Metallicity

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Kinds of Metallicity

  • high metallicity
  • solar metallicity

  • Terms modified by Metallicity

  • metallicity distribution
  • metallicity distribution function
  • metallicity gradient

  • Selected Abstracts


    Single-Component Molecular Conductor [Pt(tmdt)2] (tmdt,=,trimethylenetetrathiafulvalenedithiolate) , An Advanced Molecular Metal Exhibiting High Metallicity

    ADVANCED MATERIALS, Issue 35 2009
    Biao Zhou
    A newly prepared single-component molecular metal, [Pt(tmdt)2], exhibited very high conductivity and metallic behavior down to 4 K in the compacted polycrystalline state. A ,conducting paint' of [Pt(tmdt)2] obtained by kneading the microcrystals with lacquer and thinner showed metallic conductivity at around room temperature. [source]


    Metallicity, planetary formation and migration

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2003
    Mario Livio
    ABSTRACT Recent observations show a clear correlation between the probability of hosting a planet and the metallicity of the parent star. As radial velocity surveys are biased, however, towards detecting planets with short orbital periods, the probability,metallicity correlation could merely reflect a dependence of migration rates on metallicity. We investigated the possibility, but find no basis to suggest that the migration process is sensitive to the metallicity. The indication is, therefore, that a higher metallicity results in a higher probability for planet formation. [source]


    Metallicity and kinematical clues to the formation of the Local Group

    ASTRONOMISCHE NACHRICHTEN, Issue 5 2010
    R.F.G. Wyse
    Abstract The kinematics and elemental abundances of resolved stars in the nearby Universe can be used to infer conditions at high redshift, trace how galaxies evolve and constrain the nature of dark matter. This approach is complementary to direct study of systems at high redshift, but I will show that analysis of individual stars allows one to break degeneracies, such as between star formation rate and stellar Initial Mass Function, that complicate the analysis of unresolved, distant galaxies ( 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]


    Titanium isotopic compositions of well-characterized silicon carbide grains from Orgueil (CI): Implications for s-process nucleosynthesis

    METEORITICS & PLANETARY SCIENCE, Issue 7-8 2007
    Gary R. Huss
    Using the 16 most-precise measurements, we estimate the relative contributions of stellar nucleosynthesis during the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase and the initial compositions of the parent stars to the compositions of the grains. To do this, we compare our data to the results of several published stellar models that employ different values for some important parameters. Our analysis confirms that s -process synthesis during the AGB phase only slightly modified the titanium compositions in the envelopes of the stars where mainstream silicon carbide grains formed, as it did for silicon. Our analysis suggests that the parent stars of the >1 ,m silicon carbide grains that we measured were generally somewhat more massive than the Sun (2,3 M,) and had metallicities similar to or slightly higher than solar. Here we differ slightly from results of previous studies, which indicated masses at the lower end of the range 1.5,3 M, and metallicities near solar. We also conclude that models using a standard 13C pocket, which produces a good match for the main component of s -process elements in the solar system, overestimate the contribution of the 13C pocket to s -process nucleosynthesis of titanium found in silicon carbide grains. Although previous studies have suggested that the solar system has a significantly different titanium isotopic composition than the parent stars of silicon carbide grains, we find no compelling evidence that the Sun falls off of the array defined by those stars. We also conclude that the Sun does lie on the low-metallicity end of the silicon and titanium arrays defined by mainstream silicon carbide grains. [source]


    Red star-forming and blue passive galaxies in clusters

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2009
    Smriti Mahajan
    ABSTRACT We explore the relation between colour (measured from photometry) and specific star formation rate (derived from optical spectra obtained by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 4) of over 6000 galaxies (Mr,,20.5) in and around (<3 r200) low-redshift (z < 0.12) Abell clusters. Even though, as expected, most red sequence galaxies have little or no ongoing star formation, and most blue galaxies are currently forming stars, there are significant populations of red star-forming and blue passive galaxies. This paper examines various properties of galaxies belonging to the latter two categories, to understand why they deviate from the norm. These properties include morphological parameters, internal extinction, spectral features such as EW(H,) and the 4000 break, and metallicity. Our analysis shows that the blue passive galaxies have properties very similar to their star-forming counterparts, except that their large range in H, equivalent width indicates recent truncation of star formation. The red star-forming galaxies fall into two broad categories, one of them being massive galaxies in cluster cores dominated by an old stellar population, but with evidence of current star formation in the core (possibly linked with active galactic nuclei). For the remaining red star-forming galaxies, it is evident from spectral indices, stellar and gas-phase metallicities and mean stellar ages that their colours result from the predominance of a metal-rich stellar population. Only half of the red star-forming galaxies have extinction values consistent with a significant presence of dust. The implication of the properties of these star-forming galaxies on environmental studies, like that of the Butcher,Oemler effect, is discussed. [source]


    Formation and evolution of dwarf elliptical galaxies , II.

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2009
    Spatially resolved star formation histories
    ABSTRACT We present optical Very Large Telescope spectroscopy of 16 dwarf elliptical galaxies (dEs) comparable in mass to NGC 205, and belonging to the Fornax cluster and to nearby groups of galaxies. Using full-spectrum fitting, we derive radial profiles of the SSP-equivalent ages and metallicities. We make a detailed analysis with ulyss and steckmap of the star formation history in the core of the galaxies and in an aperture of one effective radius. We resolved the history into one to four epochs. The statistical significance of these reconstructions was carefully tested; the two programs give remarkably consistent results. The old stellar population of the dEs, which dominates their mass, is likely coeval with that of massive ellipticals or bulges, but the star formation efficiency is lower. Important intermediate age (1,5 Gyr) populations and frequently tails of star formation until recent times are detected. These histories are reminiscent of their lower mass dwarf spheroidal counterparts of the Local Group. Most galaxies (10/16) show significant metallicity gradients, with metallicity declining by 0.5 dex over one half-light radius on average. These gradients are already present in the old population. The flattened (or discy), rotating objects (6/16) have flat metallicity profiles. This may be consistent with a distinct origin for these galaxies or it may be due to their geometry. The central single stellar population equivalent age varies between 1 and 6 Gyr, with the age slowly increasing with radius in the vast majority of objects. The group and cluster galaxies have similar radial gradients and star formation histories. The strong and old metallicity gradients place important constraints on the possible formation scenarios of dEs. Numerical simulations of the formation of spherical low-mass galaxies reproduce these gradients, but they require a longer time for them to build up. A gentle depletion of the gas, by ram pressure stripping or starvation, could drive the gas-rich, star-forming progenitors to the present dEs. [source]


    The stellar population content of the thick disc and halo of the Milky Way analogue NGC 891

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2009
    M. Rejkuba
    ABSTRACT We present deep VI images obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the Hubble Space Telescope, covering three fields in the north-east side of the edge-on disc galaxy NGC 891. The observed fields span a wide range of galactocentric distances along the eastern minor axis, extending from the plane of the disc to 12 kpc, and out to ,25 kpc along the major axis. The photometry of individual stars reaches ,2.5 mag below the tip of the red giant branch. We use the astrophotometric catalogue to probe the stellar content and metallicity distribution across the thick disc and spheroid of NGC 891. The colour,magnitude diagrams of thick disc and spheroid population are dominated by old red giant branch stars with a wide range of metallicities, from the sparsely populated metal-poor tail at [Fe/H],,2.4 dex, up to about half-solar metallicity. The peak of the metallicity distribution function of the thick disc is at ,0.9 dex. The inner parts of the thick disc, within ,14 kpc along the major axis show no vertical colour/metallicity gradient. In the outer parts, a mild vertical gradient of ,(V,I)0/,|Z| = 0.1 0.05 kpc,1 or less than 0.1 dex kpc,1 is detected, with bluer colours or more metal-poor stars at larger distances from the plane. This gradient is, however, accounted for by the mixing with the metal-poor halo stars. No metallicity gradient along the major axis is present for thick-disc stars, but strong variations of about 0.35 dex around the mean of [Fe/H]=,1.13 dex are found. The properties of the asymmetric metallicity distribution functions of the thick-disc stars show no significant changes in both the radial and the vertical directions. The stellar populations situated within the solar-cylinder-like distances show strikingly different properties from those of the Galaxy populating similar distances. This suggests that the accretion histories of both galaxies have been different. The spheroid population, composed of the inner spheroid and the halo, shows remarkably uniform stellar population properties. The median metallicity of the halo stellar population shows a shallow gradient from about ,1.15 dex in the inner parts to ,1.27 dex at 24 kpc distance from the centre, corresponding to ,13reff. Similar to the thick-disc stars, large variations around the mean relation are present. [source]


    A spectroscopic survey of EC4, an extended cluster in Andromeda's halo,

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2009
    M. L. M. Collins
    ABSTRACT We present a spectroscopic survey of candidate red giant branch stars in the extended star cluster, EC4, discovered in the halo of M31 from our Canada,France,Hawaii Telescope/MegaCam survey, overlapping the tidal streams, Streams ,Cp' and ,Cr'. These observations used the DEep Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph mounted on the Keck II telescope to obtain spectra around the Caii triplet region with ,1.3 resolution. Six stars lying on the red giant branch within two core radii of the centre of EC4 are found to have an average vr=,287.9+1.9,2.4 km s,1 and ,v,corr = 2.7+4.2,2.7 km s,1, taking instrumental errors into account. The resulting mass-to-light ratio for EC4 is M/L = 6.7+15,6.7 M,/L,, a value that is consistent with a globular cluster within the 1, errors we derive. From the summed spectra of our member stars, we find EC4 to be metal-poor, with [Fe/H]=,1.6 0.15. We discuss several formation and evolution scenarios which could account for our kinematic and metallicity constraints on EC4, and conclude that EC4 is most comparable with an extended globular cluster. We also compare the kinematics and metallicity of EC4 with Streams ,Cp' and ,Cr', and find that EC4 bears a striking resemblance to Stream ,Cp' in terms of velocity, and that the two structures are identical in terms of both their spectroscopic and photometric metallicities. From this, we conclude that EC4 is likely related to Stream ,Cp'. [source]


    An optimized H, index for disentangling stellar population ages

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2009
    J. L. Cervantes
    ABSTRACT We have defined a new H, absorption index definition, H,o, which has been optimized as an age indicator for old and intermediate age stellar populations. Rather than using stellar spectra, we employed for this purpose a library of stellar population spectral energy distributions of different ages and metallicities at moderately high resolution. H,o provides us with improved abilities for lifting the age,metallicity degeneracy affecting the standard H, Lick index definition. The new index, which has also been optimized against photon noise and velocity dispersion, is fully characterized with wavelength shift, spectrum shape, dust extinction and [,/Fe] abundance ratio effects. H,o requires spectra of similar qualities as those commonly used for measuring the standard H, Lick index definition. Aiming at illustrating the use and capabilities of H,o as an age indicator we apply it to Milky Way globular clusters and to a well selected sample of early-type galaxies covering a wide range in mass. The results shown here are particularly useful for applying this index and understand the involved uncertainties. [source]


    Seven young star clusters in the inner region of the Small Magellanic Cloud

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2008
    Andrs E. Piatti
    ABSTRACT We present CCD photometry in the Washington system C and T1 passbands down to T1, 22 in the fields of L35, L45, L49, L50, L62, L63 and L85, seven poorly studied star clusters in the inner region of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). We measured T1 magnitudes and C,T1 colours for a total of 114 826 stars distributed throughout cluster areas of 13.7 13.7 arcmin2 each. Cluster radii were estimated from star counts distributed throughout the entire observed fields. The seven clusters are generally characterized by a relatively small angular size and by a high field star contamination. We performed an in-depth analysis of the field star contamination of the colour,magnitude diagrams (CMDs), and statistically cleaned the cluster CMDs. Based on the best fits of isochrones computed by the Padova group to the (T1, C,T1) CMDs, we derive ages for the sample, assuming Z= 0.004, finding ages between 25 Myr and 1.2 Gyr. We then examined different relationships between positions in the SMC, age and metallicity of a larger sample of clusters including our previous work whose ages and metallicities are on the same scale used in this paper. We confirm previous results in the sense that the further a cluster is from the centre of the galaxy, the older and more metal poor it is, with some dispersion; although clusters associated with the Magellanic Bridge clearly do not obey the general trend. The number of clusters within , 2 of the SMC centre appears to have increased substantially after ,2.5 Gyr ago, hinting at a burst. [source]


    Dust mass-loss rates from asymptotic giant branch stars in the Fornax and Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxies

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2008
    Eric Lagadec
    ABSTRACT To study the effect of metallicity on the mass-loss rate of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, we have conducted mid-infrared photometric measurements of such stars in the Sagittarius and Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxies with the 10-,m camera VISIR at the Very Large Telescope. We derive mass-loss rates for 29 AGB stars in Sgr dSph and two in Fornax. The dust mass-loss rates are estimated from the K,[9] and K,[11] colours. Radiative transfer models are used to check the consistency of the method. Published IRAS and Spitzer data confirm that the same tight correlation between K,[12] colour and dust mass-loss rates is observed for AGB stars from galaxies with different metallicities, i.e., the Galaxy, the Large Magellanic Clouds and the Small Magellanic Clouds. The derived dust mass-loss rates are in the range 5 10,10 to 3 10,8 M, yr,1 for the observed AGB stars in Sgr dSph and around 5 10,9 M, yr,1 for those in Fornax; while values obtained with the two different methods are of the same order of magnitude. The mass-loss rates for these stars are higher than the nuclear burning rates, so they will terminate their AGB phase by the depletion of their stellar mantles before their core can grow significantly. Some observed stars have lower mass-loss rates than the minimum value predicted by theoretical models. [source]


    Spectral models for solar-scaled and ,-enhanced stellar populations

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2007
    P. Coelho
    ABSTRACT We present the first models allowing one to explore in a consistent way the influence of changes in the ,-element-to-iron abundance ratio on the high-resolution spectral properties of evolving stellar populations. The models cover the wavelength range from 3000 to 1.34 ,m at a constant resolution of full width at half-maximum (FWHM) = 1 and a sampling of 0.2 , for overall metallicities in the range 0.005 ,Z, 0.048 and for stellar population ages between 3 and 14 Gyr. These models are based on a recent library of synthetic stellar spectra and a new library of stellar evolutionary tracks, both computed for three different iron abundances ([Fe/H]=,0.5, 0.0 and 0.2) and two different ,-element-to-iron abundance ratios ([,/Fe]= 0.0 and 0.4). We expect our fully synthetic models to be primarily useful for evaluating the differential effect of changes in the ,/Fe ratio on spectral properties such as broad-band colours and narrow spectral features. In addition, we assess the accuracy of absolute model predictions in two ways: first, by comparing the predictions of models for scaled-solar metal abundances ([,/Fe]= 0.0) to those of existing models based on libraries of observed stellar spectra; and secondly, by comparing the predictions of models for ,-enhanced metal abundances ([,/Fe]= 0.4) to observed spectra of massive early-type galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 4. We find that our models predict accurate strengths for those spectral indices that are strongly sensitive to the abundances of Fe and , elements. The predictions are less reliable for the strengths of other spectral features, such as those dominated by the abundances of C and N, as expected from the fact that the models do not yet allow one to explore the influence of these elements in an independent way. We conclude that our models are a powerful tool for extracting new information about the chemical properties of galaxies for which high-quality spectra have been gathered by modern surveys. [source]


    Coincident, 100 kpc scale damped Ly, absorption towards a binary QSO: how large are galaxies at z, 3?

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2007
    Sara L. Ellison
    ABSTRACT We report coincident damped Ly, (DLA) and sub-DLA absorption at zabs= 2.66 and zabs= 2.94 towards the z, 3, 13.8 arcsec separation binary quasar SDSS 1116+4118 AB. At the redshifts of the absorbers, this angular separation corresponds to a proper transverse separation of ,110 h,170 kpc. A third absorber, a sub-DLA at zabs= 2.47, is detected towards SDSS 1116+4118 B, but no corresponding high column density absorber is present towards SDSS 1116+4118 A. We use high-resolution galaxy simulations and a clustering analysis to interpret the coincident absorption and its implications for galaxy structure at z, 3. We conclude that the common absorption in the two lines of sight is unlikely to arise from a single galaxy, or a galaxy plus satellite system, and is more feasibly explained by a group of two or more galaxies with separations ,100 kpc. The impact of these findings on single line-of-sight observations is also discussed; we show that abundances of DLAs may be affected by up to a few tenths of a dex by line-of-sight DLA blending. From a Keck Echellette Spectrograph and Imager spectrum of the two quasars, we measure metal column densities for all five absorbers and determine abundances for the three absorbers with log N(H i) > 20. For the two highest N(H i) absorbers, we determine high levels of metal enrichment, corresponding to 1/3 and 1/5 Z,. These metallicities are amongst the highest measured for DLAs at any redshift and are consistent with values measured in Lyman-break galaxies at 2 < z < 3. For the DLA at zabs= 2.94 we also infer an approximately solar ratio of ,-to-Fe peak elements from [S/Zn]=+0.05, and measure an upper limit for the molecular fraction in this particular line of sight of log f (H 2) < ,5.5. [source]


    Ly, excess in high-redshift radio galaxies: a signature of star formation,

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2007
    M. Villar-Martn
    ABSTRACT About 54 per cent of radio galaxies at z, 3 and 8 per cent of radio galaxies at 2 ,z < 3 show unusually strong Ly, emission, compared with the general population of high-redshift (z, 2) radio galaxies. These Ly,-excess objects (LAEs) show Ly,/He ii values consistent with or above standard photoionization model predictions. We reject with confidence several scenarios to explain the unusual strength of Ly, in these objects: shocks, low nebular metallicities, high gas densities and absorption/scattering effects. We show that the most successful explanation is the presence of a young stellar population which provides the extra supply of ionizing photons required to explain the Ly, excess in at least the most extreme LAEs (probably in all of them). This interpretation is strongly supported by the tentative trend found by other authors for z, 3 radio galaxies to show lower ultraviolet rest-frame polarization levels, or the dramatic increase in the detection rate at submm wavelengths of z > 2.5 radio galaxies. The enhanced star formation activity in LAEs could be a consequence of a recent merger which has triggered both the star formation and the active galactic nucleus/radio activities. The measurement of unusually high Ly, ratios in the extended gas of some high-redshift radio galaxies suggests that star formation activity occurs in spatial scales of tens of kpc. We argue that, although the fraction of LAEs may be incompletely determined, both at 2 ,z < 3 and at z, 3, the much larger fraction of LAEs found at z, 3 is a genuine redshift evolution and not due to selection effects. Therefore, our results suggest that the radio galaxy phenomenon is more often associated with a massive starburst at z > 3 than at z < 3. [source]


    Chemical enrichment of the intracluster medium by FR II radio sources

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2007
    D. Heath
    ABSTRACT We present 2D axisymmetric hydrodynamic simulations investigating the long-term effect of Fanaroff,Riley type II radio galaxies on the metal distribution of the surrounding intracluster medium (ICM). A light jet is injected into a cooling flow atmosphere for 10,30 Myr. We then follow the subsequent evolution for 3 Gyr on a spherical grid spanning 3 Mpc in radius. A series of passive tracer particles were placed in an annulus about the cluster core to simulate metal carrying clouds in order to calculate the metallicity (Z) as a function of time and radial distance from the cluster centre. The jet has a significant effect on the ICM over the entire 3-Gyr period. By the end of the simulations, the jets produced metallicities of ,10 per cent of the initial metallicity of the cluster core throughout much of the cluster. The jets transport the metals not only in mixing regions, but also through upwelling ICM behind the jet, enriching the cluster over both long and short distances. [source]


    Cosmological simulations of intergalactic medium enrichment from galactic outflows

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2006
    Benjamin D. Oppenheimer
    ABSTRACT We investigate models of self-consistent chemical enrichment of the intergalactic medium (IGM) from z= 6.0 , 1.5, based on hydrodynamic simulations of structure formation that explicitly incorporate outflows from star-forming galaxies. Our main result is that outflow parametrizations derived from observations of local starburst galaxies, in particular momentum-driven wind scenarios, provide the best agreement with observations of C iv absorption at z, 2,5. Such models sufficiently enrich the high- z IGM to produce a global mass density of C iv absorbers that is relatively invariant from z= 5.5 , 1.5, in agreement with observations. This occurs despite continual IGM enrichment causing an increase in volume-averaged metallicity by , 5,10 over this redshift range, because energy input accompanying the enriching outflows causes a drop in the global ionization fraction of C iv. Comparisons to observed C iv column density and linewidth distributions and C iv -based pixel optical depth ratios provide significant constraints on wind models. Our best-fitting outflow models show mean IGM temperatures only slightly above our no-outflow case, metal filling factors of just a few per cent with volume-weighted metallicities around 10,3 at z, 3, significant amounts of collisionally ionized C iv absorption and a metallicity,density relationship that rises rapidly at low overdensities and flattens at higher ones. In general, we find that outflow speeds must be high enough to enrich the low-density IGM at early times but low enough not to overheat it, and concurrently must significantly suppress early star formation while still producing enough early metals. It is therefore non-trivial that locally calibrated momentum-driven wind scenarios naturally yield the desired strength and evolution of outflows, and suggest that such models represent a significant step towards understanding the impact of galactic outflows on galaxies and the IGM across cosmic time. [source]


    Accurate fundamental parameters for lower main-sequence stars

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2006
    Luca Casagrande
    ABSTRACT We derive an empirical effective temperature and bolometric luminosity calibration for G and K dwarfs, by applying our own implementation of the Infrared Flux Method to multiband photometry. Our study is based on 104 stars for which we have excellent BV(RI)CJHKS photometry, excellent parallaxes and good metallicities. Colours computed from the most recent synthetic libraries (ATLAS9 and MARCS) are found to be in good agreement with the empirical colours in the optical bands, but some discrepancies still remain in the infrared. Synthetic and empirical bolometric corrections also show fair agreement. A careful comparison to temperatures, luminosities and angular diameters obtained with other methods in the literature shows that systematic effects still exist in the calibrations at the level of a few per cent. Our Infrared Flux Method temperature scale is 100-K hotter than recent analogous determinations in the literature, but is in agreement with spectroscopically calibrated temperature scales and fits well the colours of the Sun. Our angular diameters are typically 3 per cent smaller when compared to other (indirect) determinations of angular diameter for such stars, but are consistent with the limb-darkening corrected predictions of the latest 3D model atmospheres and also with the results of asteroseismology. Very tight empirical relations are derived for bolometric luminosity, effective temperature and angular diameter from photometric indices. We find that much of the discrepancy with other temperature scales and the uncertainties in the infrared synthetic colours arise from the uncertainties in the use of Vega as the flux calibrator. Angular diameter measurements for a well-chosen set of G and K dwarfs would go a long way to addressing this problem. [source]


    Emission-line diagnostics of low-metallicity active galactic nuclei

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2006
    Brent A. Groves
    ABSTRACT Current emission-line-based estimates of the metallicity of active galactic nuclei (AGN) at both high and low redshifts indicate that AGN have predominantly solar-to-supersolar metallicities. This leads to the question: do low-metallicity AGN exist? In this paper, we use photoionization models to examine the effects of metallicity variations on the narrow emission-lines from an AGN. We explore a variety of emission-line diagnostics that are useful for identifying AGN with low-metallicity gas. We find that line ratios involving [N ii] are the most robust metallicity indicators in galaxies where the primary source of ionization is from the active nucleus. Ratios involving [S ii] and [O i] are strongly affected by uncertainties in modelling the density structure of the narrow-line clouds. To test our diagnostics, we turn to an analysis of AGN in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We find a clear trend in the relative strength of [N ii] with the mass of the AGN-host galaxy. The metallicity of the ISM is known to be correlated with stellar mass in star-forming galaxies; our results indicate that a similar trend exists for AGN. We also find that the best-fitting models for typical Seyfert narrow-line regions (NLRs) have supersolar abundances. Although there is a mass-dependent range of a factor of 2,3 in the NLR metallicities of the AGN in our sample, AGN with subsolar metallicities are very rare in the SDSS. Out of a sample of ,23 000 Seyfert 2 galaxies, we find only ,40 clear candidates for AGN with NLR abundances that are below solar. [source]


    Revisiting two local constraints of the Galactic chemical evolution

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2006
    M. Haywood
    ABSTRACT I review the uncertainties in two observational local constraints of the Galactic disc chemical evolution: the metallicity distribution of long-lived dwarfs and the age,metallicity relation. Analysing most recent data, it is shown first that the observed metallicity distribution at solar galactocentric radius, designed with standard methods, is more fit to a closed-box model than to the infall metallicity distribution. We argue that this is due to the specific contribution of the thick-disc population, which has been overlooked both in the derivation of the observed metallicity distribution and in the standard chemical evolution models. Although this agreement disqualifies the metallicity distribution as the best supportive (indirect) evidence for infall, we argue that the evolution must be more complex than described by either the closed-box or the standard infall models. It is then shown that recent determinations of the age,metallicity distribution (AMD) from large Strmgren photometric surveys are dominated by noise resulting from systematic biases in metallicities and effective temperatures. These biases are evaluated and a new AMD is obtained, where particularities of the previous determinations are phased out. The new age,metallicity relation shows a mean increase limited to about a factor of 2 in Z over the disc age. It is shown that below 3 Gyr, the dispersion in metallicity is about 0.1 dex, which, given the observational uncertainties in the derived metallicities, is compatible with the small cosmic dispersion measured on the interstellar medium and meteoritic pre-solar dust grains. A population that is progressively older and more metal rich arises at a metallicity greater than that of the Hyades, to reach [Fe/H],+0.5 dex at ages greater than 5 Gyr. We suggest that this is best explained by radial migration. A symmetrical widening of the metallicity interval towards lower values is seen at about the same age, which is attributed to a similar cause. Finally, the new derived ages are sufficiently consistent that an age,metallicity relation within the thick disc is confirmed. These new features altogether draw a picture of the chemical evolution in the solar neighbourhood where dynamical effects and complexity in the AMD dominate, rather than a generalized high dispersion at all ages. [source]


    Discovery and analysis of three faint dwarf galaxies and a globular cluster in the outer halo of the Andromeda galaxy,

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2006
    N. F. Martin
    ABSTRACT We present the discovery of three faint dwarf galaxies and a globular cluster in the halo of the Andromeda galaxy (M31), found in our MegaCam survey that spans the southern quadrant of M31, from a projected distance of ,50 to ,150 kpc. Though the survey covers 57 deg2, the four satellites lie within 2 of one another. From the tip of the red giant branch (RGB), we estimate that the globular cluster lies at a distance of 631 58 kpc from the Milky Way and along with a ,100 kpc projected distance from M31 we derive a total distance of 175 55 kpc from its host, making it the farthest M31 globular cluster known. It also shows the typical characteristics of a bright globular cluster, with a half-light radius of 2.3 0.2 pc and an absolute magnitude in the V band of MV,0=,8.5 0.3. Isochrone fitting reveals that it is dominated by a very old population with a metallicity of [Fe/H],,1.3. The three dwarf galaxies are revealed as overdensities of stars that are aligned along the RGB tracks in their colour,magnitude diagrams. These satellites are all very faint, with absolute magnitudes in the range ,7.3 ,MV,0,,6.4, and show strikingly similar characteristics with metallicities of [Fe/H],,1.4 and half-light radii of ,120 45 pc, making these dwarf galaxies two to three times smaller than the smallest previously known satellites of M31. Given their faintness, their distance is difficult to constrain, but we estimate them to be between 740 and 955 kpc which places them well within the virial radius of the host galaxy. The panoramic view of the MegaCam survey can provide an unbiased view of the satellite distribution of the Andromeda galaxy and, extrapolating from its coverage of the halo, we estimate that up to 45 20 satellites brighter than MV,,6.5 should be orbiting M31. Hence faint dwarf galaxies cannot alone account for the missing satellites that are predicted by , cold dark matter models, unless they reside in dark matter minihaloes that are more massive than the typical masses of 107 M, currently inferred from their central radial velocity dispersion. [source]


    Fragmentation of star-forming clouds enriched with the first dust

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 3 2006
    Raffaella Schneider
    ABSTRACT The thermal and fragmentation properties of star forming clouds have important consequences on the corresponding characteristic stellar mass. The initial composition of the gas within these clouds is a record of the nucleosynthetic products of previous stellar generations. In this paper, we present a model for the evolution of star forming clouds enriched by metals and dust from the first supernovae (SNe), resulting from the explosions of metal-free progenitors with masses in the range 12,30 M, and 140,260 M,. Using a self-consistent approach, we show that: (i) metals depleted on to dust grains play a fundamental role, enabling fragmentation to solar or subsolar mass scales already at metallicities Zcr= 10,6 Z,; (ii) even at metallicities as high as 10,2 Z,, metals diffused in the gas phase lead to fragment mass scales which are ,100 M,; (iii) C atoms are strongly depleted on to amorphous carbon grains and CO molecules so that C ii plays a minor role in gas cooling, leaving O i as the main gas-phase cooling agent in low-metallicity clouds. These conclusions hold independently of the assumed SN progenitors and suggest that the onset of low-mass star formation is conditioned to the presence of dust in the parent clouds. [source]


    Integrated-light VRI imaging photometry of globular clusters in the Magellanic Clouds

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2006
    Paul Goudfrooij
    ABSTRACT We present accurate integrated-light photometry in Johnson/Cousins V, R and I for a sample of 28 globular clusters in the Magellanic Clouds. The majority of the clusters in our sample have reliable age and metallicity estimates available in the literature. The sample encompasses ages between 50 Myr and 7 Gyr, and metallicities ([Fe/H]) between ,1.5 and 0.0 dex. The sample is dominated by clusters of ages between roughly 0.5 and 2 Gyr, an age range during which the bolometric luminosity of simple stellar populations is dominated by evolved red giant branch stars and thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) stars whose theoretical colours are rather uncertain. The VRI colours presented in this paper have been used to calibrate stellar population synthesis model predictions. [source]


    Evolutionary population synthesis for binary stellar population at high spectral resolution: integrated spectral energy distributions and absorption-feature indices

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2005
    Fenghui Zhang
    ABSTRACT Using evolutionary population synthesis, we present high-resolution (0.3 ) integrated spectral energy distributions from 3000 to 7000 and absorption-line indices defined by the Lick Observatory Image Dissector Scanner (Lick/IDS) system, for an extensive set of instantaneous-burst binary stellar populations with binary interactions. The ages of the populations are in the range 1,15 Gyr and the metallicities are in the range 0.004,0.03. These high-resolution synthesis results can satisfy the needs of modern spectroscopic galaxy surveys, and are available on request. By comparing the synthetic continuum of populations at high and low resolution, we show that there is good agreement for solar metallicity and tolerable disagreement for non-solar metallicity. The strength of the Balmer lines at high spectral resolution is greater than that at low resolution for all metallicities. The comparison of Lick/IDS absorption-line indices at low and high resolution, both of which are obtained by the fitting functions, shows that the discrepancies in all indices except for TiO1 and TiO2 are insignificant for populations with Z= 0.004 and 0.02. The high-resolution Ca4227, Fe5015 and Mgb indices are redder than the corresponding low-resolution ones for populations with Z= 0.01 and 0.03; this effect lowers the derived age and metallicity of the population. The high-resolution Mg1, Fe5709 and Fe5782 indices are bluer than those at low resolution; this effect raises the age and metallicity. The discrepancy in these six indices is greater for populations with Z= 0.03 in comparison to Z= 0.01. At high resolution we compare the Lick/IDS spectral absorption indices obtained by using the fitting functions with those measured directly from the synthetic spectra. We find that the Ca4455, Fe4668, Mgb and Na D indices obtained by the use of the fitting functions are redder for all metallicities, Fe5709 is redder at Z= 0.03 and becomes bluer at Z= 0.01 and 0.004, and the other indices are bluer for all metallicities than the corresponding values measured directly from the synthetic spectra. [source]


    Radial variation of optical and near-infrared colours in luminous early-type galaxies in A2199

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2004
    Naoyuki Tamura
    ABSTRACT We performed K -band surface photometry for luminous early-type galaxies in a nearby rich cluster A2199. Combining it with B - and R -band surface photometry, radial variations of B,R and R,K colours in the galaxies were investigated. It is found that the inner regions of the galaxies are redder in both B,R and R,K colours. Comparing the radial variations of both colours with predictions of simple stellar population models for a range of ages and metallicities, it is suggested that the cluster ellipticals have negative metallicity gradients, but their age gradients are consistent with zero, although our sample is small; the typical metallicity gradient is estimated to be ,0.16 0.09 in d log Z/d log r, while the age gradient is estimated to be ,0.10 0.14 in d log (age)/d log r. Considering that similar results have also been derived in the other recent studies using samples of ellipticals in the Coma cluster and less dense environments, it seems that there is no strong dependence on galaxy environment in the radial gradient of stellar population in an elliptical galaxy. [source]


    Spectral dating of high-redshift stellar populations

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2004
    Ignacio Ferreras
    ABSTRACT Age derivation techniques for unresolved stellar populations at high redshifts are explored using the near-ultraviolet (NUV) spectrum of LBDS 53W091 (z= 1.55) and LBDS 53W069 (z= 1.43). The photometry and morphology of these galaxies , which are weak radio sources , suggest they are early-type systems, a feature that makes them ideal testbeds for the analysis of their ages and metallicities with the use of population-synthesis models. In the analysis that is based on simple stellar population models, we find a significant degeneracy between the derived ages and metallicities both in optical+near-infrared (NIR) photometric and NUV spectroscopic analyses. This degeneracy is not so strong for LBDS 53W069. However, even in this case the stellar age cannot be constrained better than to a range roughly encompassing one-third of the age of the Universe at z= 1.43 (90 per cent confidence level). We have explored several independent population-synthesis models and consistently found similar results. Broad-band photometry straddling the rest-frame 4000- break is also subject to a strong age,metallicity degeneracy. The use of realistic chemical enrichment assumptions significantly helps in disentangling the degeneracy. Based on this method, we derive the average stellar age for both galaxies around ,t,,, 3.6,3.8 Gyr with better constraints on the youngest possible ages (,3 Gyr at the 90 per cent confidence level). The comparison with simple stellar population models suggest subsolar metallicities (log Z/Z,=,0.2). A composite model using chemical enrichment gives slightly higher metallicities in both galaxies (log Z/Z,=, 0.1). Given that the stellar component in galaxies forms over times which are larger than a typical chemical enrichment time-scale, we conclude that composite stellar populations must be used in all photospectroscopic analyses of galaxies. From the observational point of view, the most efficient (and feasible) way to set limits on unresolved stellar populations comprises a combination of Balmer absorption lines along with either low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) rest-frame NUV spectroscopy or accurate optical and NIR photometry. [source]


    Testing stellar population models with star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2002
    Michael A. Beasley
    Abstract We present high signal-to-noise ratio integrated spectra of 24 star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), obtained using the FLAIR spectrograph at the UK Schmidt telescope. The spectra have been placed on to the Lick/IDS system in order to test the calibration of Simple Stellar Population (SSP) models. We have compared the SSP-predicted metallicities of the clusters with those from the literature, predominantly taken from the Ca-triplet spectroscopy of Olszewski et al. (1991). We find that there is good agreement between the metallicities in the range ,2.10 ,[Fe/H], 0. However, the Mg2 index (and to a lesser degree Mg b) systematically predict higher metallicities (up to +0.5 dex higher) than ,Fe,. Among the possible explanations for this are that the LMC clusters possess [,/Fe] > 0. Metallicities are presented for eleven LMC clusters which have no previous measurements. We compare SSP ages for the clusters, derived from the H,, H, and H, Lick/IDS indices, with the available literature data, and find good agreement for the vast majority. This includes six old globular clusters in our sample, which have ages consistent with their HST colour-magnitude diagram (CMD) ages and/or integrated colours. However, two globular clusters, NGC 1754 and NGC 2005, identified as old (,15 Gyr) on the basis of HST CMDs, have H, line-strengths which lead ages that are too low (,8 and ,6 Gyr respectively). These findings are inconsistent with their CMD-derived values at the 3, level. Comparison between the horizontal branch morphology and the Balmer line strengths of these clusters suggests that the presence of blue horizontal branch stars has increased their Balmer indices by up to ,1.0 . We conclude that the Lick/IDS indices, used in conjunction with contemporary SSP models, are able to reproduce the ages and metallicities of the LMC clusters reassuringly well. The required extrapolations of the fitting functions and stellar libraries in the models to lower ages and low metallicities do not lead to serious systematic errors. However, owing to the significant contribution of horizontal branch stars to Balmer indices, SSP model ages derived for metal-poor globular clusters are ambiguous without a priori knowledge of horizontal branch morphology. [source]


    Setting new constraints on the age of the Universe

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 4 2001
    Ignacio Ferreras
    There are three independent techniques for determining the age of the Universe: via cosmochronology of long-lived radioactive nuclei, via stellar modelling and population synthesis of the oldest stellar populations, and, most recently, via the precision cosmology that has become feasible with the mapping of the acoustic peaks in the cosmic microwave background. We demonstrate that all three methods give completely consistent results, and enable us to set rigorous bounds on the maximum and minimum ages that are allowed for the Universe. We present new constraints on the age of the Universe by performing a multiband colour analysis of bright cluster ellipticals over a large redshift range , which allows us to infer the ages of their stellar populations over a wide range of possible formation redshifts and metallicities. Applying a prior to Hubble's constant of we find the age of the Universe to be (1,), in agreement with the estimates from Type Ia supernovae, as well as with the latest uranium decay estimates, which yield an age for the Milky Way of . If we combine the results from cluster ellipticals with the analysis of the angular power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background and with the observations of Type Ia supernovae at high redshift, we find a similar age: . Without the assumption of any priors, universes older than 18 Gyr are ruled out by the data at the 90 per cent confidence level. [source]


    Stellar populations and surface brightness fluctuations: new observations and models

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 2 2001
    John P. Blakeslee
    We investigate the use of surface brightness fluctuations (SBF) measurements in optical and near-IR bandpasses for both stellar population and distance studies. New V -band SBF data are reported for five galaxies in the Fornax cluster and combined with literature data to define a V -band SBF distance indicator, calibrated against Cepheid distances to the Leo group and the Virgo and Fornax clusters. The colour dependence of the V -band SBF indicator is only ,15 per cent steeper than that found for the I band, and the mean ,fluctuation colour' of the galaxies is We use new stellar population models, based on the latest Padua isochrones transformed empirically to the observational plane, to predict optical and near-IR SBF magnitudes and integrated colours for a wide range of population ages and metallicities. We examine the sensitivity of the predicted SBF,colour relations to changes in the isochrones, stellar transformations, and initial mass function. The new models reproduce fairly well the weak dependence of V and I SBF in globular clusters on metallicity, especially if the more metal-rich globulars are younger. Below solar metallicity, the near-IR SBF magnitudes depend mainly on age, while the integrated colours depend mainly on metallicity. This could prove a powerful new approach to the age,metallicity degeneracy problem; near-IR SBF observations of globular clusters would be an important test of the models. The models also help in understanding the and fluctuation colours of elliptical galaxies, with much less need for composite stellar populations than in previous models. However, in order to obtain theoretical calibrations of the SBF distance indicators, we combine the homogeneous population models into composite models and select out those ones with fluctuation colours consistent with observations. We are able to reproduce the observed range of elliptical galaxy colours, the slopes of the V and I SBF distance indicators against (fainter SBF in redder populations), and the flattening of the I -band relation for The models also match the observed slope of I -band SBF against the Mg2 absorption index and explain the steep colour dependence found by Ajhar et al. for the HST/WFPC2 F814W-band SBF measurements. In contrast to previous models, ours predict that the near-IR SBF magnitudes will also continue to grow fainter for redder populations. The theoretical V -band SBF zero-point predicted by these models agrees well with the Cepheid-calibrated V -band empirical zero-point. However, the model zero-point is 0.15,0.27 mag too faint in the I band and 0.24,0.36 mag too faint in K. The zero-points for the I band (empirically the best determined) would come into close agreement if the Cepheid distance scale were revised to agree with the recent dynamical distance measured to NGC 4258. We note that the theoretical SBF calibrations are sensitive to the uncertain details of stellar evolution, and conclude that the empirical calibrations remain more secure. However, the sensitivity of SBF to these finer details potentially makes it a powerful, relatively unexploited, constraint for stellar evolution and population synthesis. [source]


    X-ray evidence for multiphase hot gas with nearly solar Fe abundances in the brightest groups of galaxies

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Issue 1 2000
    David A. Buote
    We analyse the ASCA spectra accumulated within ,100 kpc radii of 12 of the brightest groups of galaxies. Upon fitting isothermal models (1T) jointly to the ASCA SIS and GIS spectra we obtain fits for most groups that are of poor or at best marginal quality and give very subsolar metallicities similar to previous studies, ,Z,=0.290.12 Z,. Two-temperature models (2T) provide significantly better fits for 11 out of the 12 groups, and in every case have metallicities that are substantially larger than obtained for the 1T models, ,Z,=0.750.24 Z,. Though not very well constrained, for most of the groups absorption in excess of the Galactic value is indicated for the cooler temperature component of the 2T models. A simple multiphase cooling flow model gives results analogous to the 2T models including large metallicities, ,Z,=0.650.17 Z,. The nearly solar Fe abundances and also solar ,/Fe ratios indicated by the 2T and cooling flow models are consistent with models of the chemical enrichment of ellipticals, groups, and clusters which assume ratios of Type Ia to Type II supernovae and an initial mass function (IMF) similar to those of the Milky Way. Thus we have shown that the very subsolar Fe abundances and Si/Fe enhancements obtained from most previous studies within r,100 kpc of galaxy groups are an artefact of fitting isothermal models to the X-ray spectra, which also has been recently demonstrated for the brightest elliptical galaxies. Owing to the importance of these results for interpreting X-ray spectra, in an appendix we use simulated ASCA observations to examine in detail the ,Fe bias' and ,Si bias' associated with the spectral fitting of ellipticals, groups and clusters of galaxies. [source]


    Revisiting the origin of the high metallicities of sub-damped Lyman-alpha systems,

    MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY: LETTERS (ELECTRONIC), Issue 1 2009
    Miroslava Dessauges-Zavadsky
    ABSTRACT Sub-damped Lyman-alpha systems (sub-DLAs) have previously been found to exhibit a steeper metallicity evolution than the classical damped Lyman-alpha systems (DLAs), evolving to close to solar metallicity by z, 1. From new high-resolution spectra of 17 sub-DLAs, we have increased the number of measurements of [Fe/H] at z < 1.7 by 25 per cent and compiled the most complete literature sample of sub-DLA and DLA abundances to date. We find that sub-DLAs are indeed significantly more metal-rich than DLAs, but only at z < 1.7; the metallicity distributions of sub-DLAs and DLAs at z > 1.7 are statistically consistent. We also present the first evidence that sub-DLAs follow a velocity width,metallicity correlation over the same velocity range as DLAs, but the relation is offset to higher metallicities than the DLA relation. On the basis of these results, we revisit the previous explanation that the systematically higher metallicities observed in sub-DLAs are indicative of higher host galaxy masses. We discuss the various problems that this interpretation encounters and conclude that in general sub-DLAs are not uniquely synonymous with massive galaxies. We rule out physically related sources of bias (dust, environment, ionization effects) and examine systematics associated with the selection and analysis of low-redshift sub-DLAs. We propose that the high metallicities of sub-DLAs at z < 1.7 that drives an apparently steep evolution may be due to the selection of most low-redshift sub-DLAs based on their high Mg ii equivalent widths. [source]