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Creators/Authors contains: "Gilbert, Karoline M."

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  1. Abstract

    Stellar kinematics and metallicity are key to exploring formation scenarios for galactic disks and halos. In this work, we characterized the relationship between kinematics and photometric metallicity along the line of sight to M31's disk. We combined optical Hubble Space Telescope/Advanced Camera for Surveys photometry, from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury survey, with Keck/DEIMOS spectra, from the Spectroscopic and Photometric Landscape of Andromeda’s Stellar Halo survey. The resulting sample of 3512 individual red giant branch stars spans 4–19 projected kpc, making it a useful probe of both the disk and inner halo. We separated these stars into disk and halo populations, by modeling the line-of-sight velocity distributions as a function of position across the disk region, where ∼73% stars have a high likelihood of belonging to the disk and ∼14% to the halo. Although stellar halos are typically thought to be metal-poor, the kinematically identified halo contains a significant population of stars (∼29%) with disk-like metallicity ([Fe/H]phot∼ −0.10). This metal-rich halo population lags the gaseous disk to a similar extent as the rest of the halo, indicating that it does not correspond to a canonical thick disk. Its properties are inconsistent with those of tidal debris originating from themore »Giant Stellar Stream merger event. Moreover, the halo is chemically distinct from the phase-mixed component previously identified along the minor axis (i.e., away from the disk), implying contributions from different formation channels. These metal-rich halo stars provide direct chemodynamical evidence in favor of the previously suggested “kicked-up” disk population in M31's inner stellar halo.

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  2. Abstract

    We obtained Keck/DEIMOS spectra of 556 individual red giant branch stars in four spectroscopic fields spanning 13−31 projected kpc along the northeast (NE) shelf of M31. We present the first detection of a complete wedge pattern in the space of projected M31-centric radial distance versus line-of-sight velocity for this feature, which includes the returning stream component of the shelf. This wedge pattern agrees with expectations of a tidal shell formed in a radial merger and provides strong evidence in favor of predictions of Giant Stellar Stream (GSS) formation models in which the NE shelf originates from the second orbital wrap of the tidal debris. The observed concentric wedge patterns of the NE, west (W), and southeast (SE) shelves corroborate this interpretation independently of the models. We do not detect a kinematical signature in the NE shelf region corresponding to an intact progenitor core, favoring GSS formation models in which the progenitor is completely disrupted. The shelf’s photometric metallicity ([Fe/H]phot) distribution implies that it is dominated by tidal material, as opposed to the phase-mixed stellar halo or the disk. The metallicity distribution ([Fe/H]phot= −0.42 ± 0.01) also matches the GSS, and consequently the W and SE shelves, further supporting amore »direct physical association between the tidal features.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. Abstract

    Triangulum (M33) is a low-mass, relatively undisturbed spiral galaxy that offers a new regime in which to test models of dynamical heating. In spite of its proximity, M33's dynamical heating history has not yet been well-constrained. In this work, we present the TREX Survey, the largest stellar spectroscopic survey across the disk of M33. We present the stellar disk kinematics as a function of age to study the past and ongoing dynamical heating of M33. We measure line-of-sight velocities for ∼4500 disk stars. Using a subset, we divide the stars into broad age bins using Hubble Space Telescope and Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope photometric catalogs: massive main-sequence stars and helium-burning stars (∼80 Myr), intermediate-mass asymptotic branch stars (∼1 Gyr), and low-mass red giant branch stars (∼4 Gyr). We compare the stellar disk dynamics to that of the gas using existing Hi, CO, and Hαkinematics. We find that the disk of M33 has relatively low-velocity dispersion (∼16 km s−1), and unlike in the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, there is no strong trend in velocity dispersion as a function of stellar age. The youngest disk stars are as dynamically hot as the oldest disk stars and are dynamically hotter than predicted bymore »most M33-like low-mass simulated analogs in Illustris. The velocity dispersion of the young stars is highly structured, with the large velocity dispersion fairly localized. The cause of this high-velocity dispersion is not evident from the observations and simulated analogs presented here.

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  5. Abstract

    We analyze existing measurements of [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] for individual red giant branch (RGB) stars in the Giant Stellar Stream (GSS) of M31 to determine whether spatial abundance gradients are present. These measurements were obtained from low- (R∼ 3000) and moderate- (R∼ 6000) resolution Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy using spectral synthesis techniques as part of the Elemental Abundances in M31 survey. From a sample of 62 RGB stars spanning the GSS at 17, 22, and 33 projected kpc, we measure a [Fe/H] gradient of −0.018 ± 0.003 dex kpc−1and negligible [α/Fe] gradient with M31-centric radius. We investigate GSS abundance patterns in the outer halo using additional [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] measurements for six RGB stars located along the stream at 45 and 58 projected kpc. These abundances provide tentative evidence that the trends in [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] beyond 40 kpc in the GSS are consistent with those within 33 kpc. We also compare the GSS abundances to 65 RGB stars located along the possibly related Southeast (SE) shelf substructure at 12 and 18 projected kpc. The abundances of the GSS and SE shelf are consistent, supporting a common origin hypothesis, although this interpretation may be complicated by the presence of [Fe/H] gradientsmore »in the GSS. We discuss the abundance patterns in the context of photometric studies from the literature and explore implications for the properties of the GSS progenitor, suggesting that the high 〈[α/Fe]〉 of the GSS (+0.40 ± 0.05 dex) favors a major merger scenario for its formation.

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  6. Abstract

    We present initial results from a large spectroscopic survey of stars throughout M33's stellar disk. We analyze a sample of 1667 red giant branch (RGB) stars extending to projected distances of ∼11 kpc from M33's center (∼18 kpc, or ∼10 scale lengths, in the plane of the disk). The line-of-sight velocities of RGB stars show the presence of two kinematical components. One component is consistent with rotation in the plane of M33's Hidisk and has a velocity dispersion (∼19 km s−1), consistent with that observed in a comparison sample of younger stars, while the second component has a significantly higher velocity dispersion. A two-component fit to the RGB velocity distribution finds that the high-dispersion component has a velocity dispersion of59.32.5+2.6km s−1and rotates very slowly in the plane of the disk (consistent with no rotation at the <1.5σlevel), which favors interpreting it as a stellar halo rather than a thick disk population. A spatial analysis indicates that the fraction of RGB stars in the high-velocity-dispersion component decreases with increasing radius over the range covered by the spectroscopic sample. Our spectroscopic sample establishes that a significant high-velocity-dispersion component is present in M33's RGB population from near M33's centermore »to at least the radius where M33's Hidisk begins to warp at 30′ (∼7.5 kpc) in the plane of the disk. This is the first detection and spatial characterization of a kinematically hot stellar component throughout M33's inner regions.

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  7. Abstract

    We present measurements of [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] for 128 individual red giant branch stars (RGB) in the stellar halo of M31, including its Giant Stellar Stream (GSS), obtained using spectral synthesis of low- and medium-resolution Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy (and 6000, respectively). We observed four fields in M31's stellar halo (at projected radii of 9, 18, 23, and 31 kpc), as well as two fields in the GSS (at 33 kpc). In combination with existing literature measurements, we have increased the sample size of [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] measurements from 101 to a total of 229 individual M31 RGB stars. From this sample, we investigate the chemical abundance properties of M31's inner halo, findingand. Between 8 and 34 kpc, the inner halo has a steep [Fe/H] gradient (−0.025 ± 0.002 dex kpc−1) and negligible [α/Fe] gradient, where substructure in the inner halo is systematically more metal-rich than the smooth component of the halo at a given projected distance. Although the chemical abundances of the inner stellar halo are largely inconsistent with that of present-day dwarf spheroidal (dSph) satellite galaxies of M31, we identified 22 RGB stars kinematically associated with the smooth component of the stellar halomore »that have chemical abundance patterns similar to M31 dSphs. We discuss formation scenarios for M31's halo, concluding that these dSph-like stars may have been accreted from galaxies of similar stellar mass and star formation history, or of higher stellar mass and similar star formation efficiency.

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