A close look at the Centaurus A group of galaxies: I. Metallicity distribution functions and population gradients in early-type dwarfs

Denija Crnojevic, E. Grebel, A. Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We study dwarf galaxies in the Centaurus A group to investigate their metallicity and possible environmental effects. The Centaurus A group (at ~4 Mpc from the Milky Way) contains about 50 known dwarf companions of different morphologies and stellar contents, thus making it a very interesting target to study how these galaxies evolve. Here we present results for the early-type dwarf galaxy population in this group. We use archival HST/ACS data to study the resolved stellar content of 6 galaxies, together with isochrones from the Dartmouth stellar evolutionary models. We derive photometric metallicity distribution functions of stars on the upper red giant branch via isochrone interpolation. The 6 galaxies are moderately metal-poor ( =-1.56 to -1.08), and metallicity spreads are observed (internal dispersions of sigma_[Fe/H]=0.10 to 0.41 dex). We also investigate the possible presence of intermediate-age stars, and discuss how these affect our results. The dwarfs exhibit flat to weak radial metallicity gradients. For the two most luminous, most metal-rich galaxies, we find statistically significant evidence for at least two stellar subpopulations: the more metal-rich stars are found in the center of the galaxies, while the metal-poor ones are more broadly distributed within the galaxies. We find no clear trend of the derived physical properties as a function of (present-day) galaxy position in the group, which may be due to the small sample we investigate. We compare our results to the early-type dwarf population of the Local Group, and find no outstanding differences, despite the fact that the Centaurus A group is a denser environment that is possibly in a more advanced dynamical stage.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA85
Number of pages17
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Volume516
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

Keywords

  • astro-ph.CO
  • dwarf
  • evolution
  • photometry
  • groups
  • individual
  • CenA group
  • stellar content

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