The extended Planetary Nebula Spectrograph (ePN.S) early-type galaxy survey. The kinematic diversity of stellar halos and the relation between halo transition scale and stellar mass

17 Jul 2018  ·  Pulsoni C., Gerhard O., Arnaboldi M., Coccato L., Longobardi A., Napolitano N. R., Narayan C., Gupta V., Burkert A., Capaccioli M., Chies-Santos A. L., Cortesi A., Freeman K. C., Kuijken K., Merrifield M. R., Romanowsky A. J., Tortora C. ·

In the hierarchical two-phase formation scenario, the extended halos of early type galaxies (ETGs) are expected to have different physical properties from those of the galaxies' central regions. This work aims at characterizing the kinematic properties of ETG halos using planetary nebulae (PNe) as tracers, which allow us to overcome the limitations of absorption line spectroscopy of continuum at low surface brightness... We present two-dimensional velocity and velocity dispersion fields for 33 ETGs, including both fast (FRs) and slow rotators (SRs), making this the largest kinematic survey to-date of extragalactic PNe. The velocity fields extend out to a median 5.6 effective radii (Re), with a range [3Re-13Re] for the PN.S ETGs. We complemented the PN kinematics with absorption line data from the literature. We find that ETGs typically show a kinematic transition between inner regions and halo. Estimated transition radii in units of Re anticorrelate with stellar mass. SRs have increased but still modest rotational support at large radii, while most of the FRs show a decrease in rotation, due to the fading of the stellar disk in the outer, more slowly rotating spheroid. 30% of the FRs are dominated by rotation also at large radii. Most ETGs have flat or slightly falling halo velocity dispersion profiles, but 15% of the sample have steeply falling profiles. 40% of the FRs show kinematic twists, misalignments, or rotation along two axes, indicating that they turn from oblate at the center to triaxial in the halo, consistently with the distribution of isophote twists from extended photometry. ETGs have more diverse kinematic properties in their halos than in the central regions. The observed kinematic transition to the halo and its dependence on stellar mass is consistent with LambdaCDM simulations and supports a two-phase formation scenario. [abridged] read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies