Wednesday, July 10, 2013

1307.2360 (M. D'Onofrio et al.)

The hybrid solution for the Fundamental Plane    [PDF]

M. D'Onofrio, G. Fasano, A. Moretti, P. Marziani, D. Bindoni, J. Fritz, J. Varela, D. Bettoni, A. Cava, B. M. Poggianti, M. Gullieuszik, P. Kjaergaard, M. Moles, B. Vulcani, A. Omizzolo, W. J. Couch, A. Dressler
By exploiting the database of early-type galaxies (ETGs) members of the WINGS survey of nearby clusters, we address here the long debated question of the origin and shape of the Fundamental Plane (FP). Our data suggest that different physical mechanisms concur in shaping and tilting the FP with respect to the virial plane (VP) expectation. In particular, an hybrid solution in which the structure of galaxies and their stellar population are the main contributors to the FP tilt seems to be favoured. We find that the bulk of the tilt should be attributed to structural non-homology, while stellar population effects play an important but less crucial role. Our data indicate that the differential FP tilt between the V and K-band is due to a sort of entanglement between structural and stellar population effects, for which the inward steepening of color profiles (V-K) tends to increase at increasing the stellar mass of ETGs. The same analysis applied to the ATLAS3D and SDSS data in common with WINGS (WSDSS throughout the paper) confirms our results, the only remarkable difference being the less important role of the stellar mass-to-light-ratio in determining the FP tilt. The ATLAS3D data also suggest that the tilt depends as well on the dark matter (DM) fraction and on the rotational contribution to the kinetic energy (Vrot/sigma). We show that the global properties of the FP can be understood in terms of the underlying correlation among mass, structure and stellar population of ETGs, for which, at increasing the stellar mass, ETGs become (on average) older and more centrally concentrated. Finally, we show that a Malmquist-like selection effect may mimic a differential evolution of the mass-to-light ratio for galaxies of different masses. This should be taken into account in the studies investigating the amount of the so called downsizing phenomenon.
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