Destruction of wide binary stars in low mass elliptical galaxies: implications for initial mass function estimates [CL]

We discuss the effects of destruction of wide binaries in the nuclei of the lower mass giant elliptical galaxies. We show that the numbers of barium stars and extrinsic S stars should be dramatically reduced in these galaxies compared to what is seen in the largest elliptical galaxies. Given that the extrinsic S stars show strong Wing-Ford band and Na I D absorption, we argue that the recent claims of different initial mass functions from the most massive elliptical galaxies versus lower mass ellipticals may be the result of extrinsic S stars, rather than bottom-heavy initial mass function.

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T. Maccarone
Tue, 18 Mar 14