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  1. Abstract We use deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging to derive a distance to the Virgo Cluster ultradiffuse galaxy (UDG) VCC 615 using the tip of the red giant branch (TRGB) distance estimator. We detect 5023 stars within the galaxy, down to a 50% completeness limit of F814W ≈ 28.0, using counts in the surrounding field to correct for contamination due to background sources and Virgo intracluster stars. We derive an extinction-corrected F814W tip magnitude of m tip , 0 = 27.19 − 0.05 + 0.07 , yielding a distance of d = 17.7 − 0.4 + 0.6 Mpc. This places VCC 615 on the far side of the Virgo Cluster ( d Virgo = 16.5 Mpc), at a Virgocentric distance of 1.3 Mpc and near the virial radius of the main body of Virgo. Coupling this distance with the galaxy’s observed radial velocity, we find that VCC 615 is on an outbound trajectory, having survived a recent passage through the inner parts of the cluster. Indeed, our orbit modeling gives a 50% chance the galaxy passed inside the Virgo core ( r < 620 kpc) within the past gigayear, although very close passages directly through the cluster center ( rmore »< 200 kpc) are unlikely. Given VCC 615's undisturbed morphology, we argue that the galaxy has experienced no recent and sudden transformation into a UDG due to the cluster potential, but rather is a long-lived UDG whose relatively wide orbit and large dynamical mass protect it from stripping and destruction by the Virgo cluster tides. Finally, we also describe the serendipitous discovery of a nearby Virgo dwarf galaxy projected 90″ (7.2 kpc) away from VCC 615.« less
  2. Abstract We present deep Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging of five faint dwarf galaxies associated with the nearby spiral NGC 253 (D ≈ 3.5 Mpc). Three of these are newly discovered dwarf galaxies, while all five were found in the Panoramic Imaging Survey of Centaurus and Sculptor, a Magellan+Megacam survey to identify faint dwarfs and other substructures in resolved stellar light around massive galaxies outside of the Local Group. Our HST data reach ≳3 magnitudes below the tip of the red giant branch for each dwarf, allowing us to derive their distances, structural parameters, and luminosities. All five systems contain mostly old, metal-poor stellar populations (age ∼12 Gyr, [M/H] ≲ −1.5) and have sizes ( r h ∼ 110–3000 pc) and luminosities ( M V ∼ −7 to −12 mag) largely consistent with Local Group dwarfs. The three new NGC 253 satellites are among the faintest systems discovered beyond the Local Group. We also use archival H i data to place limits on the gas content of our discoveries. Deep imaging surveys such as our program around NGC 253 promise to elucidate the faint end of the satellite luminosity function and its scatter across a range of galaxy masses, morphologies,more »and environments in the decade to come.« less
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  4. Abstract We present a study of the stellar populations of globular clusters (GCs) in the Virgo Cluster core with a homogeneous spectroscopic catalog of 692 GCs within a major-axis distance R maj = 840 kpc from M87. We investigate radial and azimuthal variations in the mean age, total metallicity, [Fe/H], and α -element abundance of blue (metal-poor) and red (metal-rich) GCs using their co-added spectra. We find that the blue GCs have a steep radial gradient in [Z/H] within R maj = 165 kpc, with roughly equal contributions from [Fe/H] and [ α /Fe], and flat gradients beyond. By contrast, the red GCs show a much shallower gradient in [Z/H], which is entirely driven by [Fe/H]. We use GC-tagged Illustris simulations to demonstrate an accretion scenario where more massive satellites (with more metal- and α -rich GCs) sink further into the central galaxy than less massive ones, and where the gradient flattening occurs because of the low GC occupation fraction of low-mass dwarfs disrupted at larger distances. The dense environment around M87 may also cause the steep [ α /Fe] gradient of the blue GCs, mirroring what is seen in the dwarf galaxy population. The progenitors of red GCs havemore »a narrower mass range than those of blue GCs, which makes their gradients shallower. We also explore spatial inhomogeneity in GC abundances, finding that the red GCs to the northwest of M87 are slightly more metal-rich. Future observations of GC stellar population gradients will be useful diagnostics of halo merger histories.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. Abstract

    We discuss five blue stellar systems in the direction of the Virgo cluster, analogous to the enigmatic object SECCO 1 (AGC 226067). These objects were identified based on their optical and UV morphology and followed up with Hiobservations with the Very Large Array (and Green Bank Telescope), Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (on the Very Large Telescope) optical spectroscopy, and Hubble Space Telescope imaging. These new data indicate that one system is a distant group of galaxies. The remaining four are extremely low mass (M*∼ 105M), are dominated by young blue stars, have highly irregular and clumpy morphologies, are only a few kiloparsecs across, yet host an abundance of metal-rich,12+log(O/H)>8.2, Hiiregions. These high metallicities indicate that these stellar systems formed from gas stripped from much more massive galaxies. Despite the young age of their stellar populations, only one system is detected in Hi, while the remaining three have minimal (if any) gas reservoirs. Furthermore, two systems are surprisingly isolated and have no plausible parent galaxy within ∼30′ (∼140 kpc). Although tidal stripping cannot be conclusively excluded as the formation mechanism of these objects, ram pressure stripping more naturally explains their properties, inmore »particular their isolation, owing to the higher velocities, relative to the parent system, that can be achieved. Therefore, we posit that most of these systems formed from ram-pressure-stripped gas removed from new infalling cluster members and survived in the intracluster medium long enough to become separated from their parent galaxies by hundreds of kiloparsecs and that they thus represent a new type of stellar system.

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  7. ABSTRACT Globular clusters (GCs) are often used to estimate the dark matter content of galaxies, especially dwarf galaxies, where other kinematic tracers are lacking. These estimates typically assume spherical symmetry and dynamical equilibrium, assumptions that may not hold for the sparse GC population of dwarfs in galaxy clusters. We use a catalogue of GCs tagged on to the Illustris simulation to study the accuracy of GC-based mass estimates. We focus on galaxies in the stellar mass range 108–1011.8 M⊙ identified in nine simulated Virgo-like clusters. Our results indicate that mass estimates are, on average, accurate in systems with GC numbers NGC ≥ 10 and where the uncertainty of individual GC line-of-sight velocities is smaller than the inferred velocity dispersion, σGC. In cases where NGC ≤ 10, however, biases may result, depending on how σGC is computed. We provide calibrations that may help alleviate these biases in methods widely used in the literature. As an application, we find a number of dwarfs with $M_{*} \sim 10^{8.5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ – comparable with the ultra-diffuse galaxy NGC 1052-DF2 (DF2), notable for the low σGC of its 10 GCs – that have $\sigma _{\rm GC} \sim 7\!-\!15\, {\rm km \,s}^{-1}$. These DF2 analogues correspond tomore »relatively massive systems at their infall time (M200 ∼ 1–3 × 1011 M⊙), which have retained only 3–17 GCs and have been stripped of more than 95 per cent of their dark matter. Our results suggest that extreme tidal mass loss in otherwise normal dwarf galaxies may be a possible formation channel for ultra-diffuse objects such as DF2.« less
  8. Abstract

    The two sources AGC 226178 and NGVS 3543, an extremely faint, clumpy, blue stellar system and a low surface brightness dwarf spheroidal, are adjacent systems in the direction of the Virgo cluster. Both have been studied in detail previously, with it being suggested that they are unrelated normal dwarf galaxies or that NGVS 3543 recently lost its gas through ram pressure stripping and AGC 226178 formed from this stripped gas. However, with Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys imaging, we demonstrate that the stellar population of NGVS 3543 is inconsistent with being at the distance of the Virgo cluster and that it is likely a foreground object at approximately 10 Mpc, whereas the stellar population of AGC 226178 is consistent with it being a very young (10–100 Myr) object in the Virgo cluster. Through a reanalysis of the original ALFALFA Hidetection, we show that AGC 226178 likely formed from gas stripped from the nearby dwarf galaxy VCC 2034, a hypothesis strengthened by the high metallicity measured with MUSE VLT observations. However, it is unclear whether ram pressure or a tidal interaction is responsible for stripping the gas. Object AGC 226178 is one of at least five similar objectsmore »now known toward Virgo. These objects are all young and unlikely to remain visible for over ∼500 Myr, suggesting that they are continually produced in the cluster.

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