Morphologies and stellar populations of galaxies in the core of Abell 2218

S. F. Sánchez, N. Cardiel, M. A. W. Verheijen, S. Pedraz, G. Covone

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We present a study of the stellar populations and morphologies of galaxies in the core of the galaxy cluster Abell 2218. Integral field spectroscopy (IFS) observations were performed using PMAS in the PPAK mode covering a field of view of similar to 74 x 64 arcsec(2) centred on the core of the cluster, in order to obtain spectroscopy of an unbiased flux-limited sample of cluster galaxies. 43 objects were detected in the IFS data, 31 of them with enough signal-to-noise ratio to derive the redshift, all of them brighter than I <21.5 mag. 28 are at the redshift of the cluster (17 with previously unknown redshift). Individual spectra of the cluster members were extracted and compared with single stellar population models to derive the luminosity-weighted ages and metallicities. In addition, deep Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/ACS F475W-, F555W-, F625W- and F850LP-band images centred on the cluster core were obtained from the HST archive (z(lim) similar to 28 mag). A detailed morphological analysis of all the galaxies within the field of view of these images down to z(lim) <22.5 mag was performed classifying them as late-type, intermediate and early-type, on the basis of their Sersic indices. The literature was scanned to look for spectroscopically confirmed cluster members located within the field of view of the ACS image. The final sample of 59 galaxies comprises our reported sample of 28 galaxies in the core, and 31 additional galaxies in the outer regions. In addition, multiband broad-band photometry was extracted from the literature for all objects.

The morphologically segregated colour-magnitude diagram shows that the early-type galaxies cover the range of brighter and redder colours (the so-called 'red sequence'). A large fraction of spiral galaxies (similar to 50 per cent) is found, most of them fainter than the limit of previous studies. They cover a wide range in colours, from blue colours typical of Butcher-Oemler galaxies to red colours similar to those of early-type galaxies. This result indicates that early-type galaxies are more massive and have older stellar populations, while late-type galaxies are less massive and have a wider range of stellar populations. The distribution of luminosity-weighted ages as a function of metallicities and luminosity-weighted masses, and the distribution of Sersic indices as a function of the luminosity-weighted masses confirm these results. They in fact agree with a proposed two-step scenario for the evolution of galaxies in clusters, where the star formation is quenched first in the infalling spirals, after which a morphological transformation follows that requires larger time-scales. This scenario naturally explains the population faint late-type galaxies with old stellar populations observed in this cluster. In addition, an extremely blue merging galaxy system is found at the core, with the nominal redshift of the cluster.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)125-150
Aantal pagina's26
TijdschriftMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 21-mrt.-2007

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