The Structure and Stellar Content of the Outer Disks of Galaxies: A New View from the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey [GA]

We present the results of an analysis of Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey multi-band (g,r,i,z,y) images of a sample of 698 low-redshift disk galaxies that span broad ranges in stellar mass, star-formation rate, and bulge/disk ratio. We use population synthesis SED fitting techniques to explore the radial distribution of the light, color, surface mass density, mass/light ratio, and age of the stellar populations. We characterize the structure and stellar content of the galaxy disks out to radii of about twice Petrosian r90, beyond which the halo light becomes significant. We measure normalized radial profiles for sub-samples of galaxies in three bins each of stellar mass and concentration. We also fit radial profiles to each galaxy. The majority of galaxies have down-bending radial surface brightness profiles in the bluer bands with a break radius at roughly r90. However, they typically show single unbroken exponentials in the reddest bands and in the stellar surface mass density. We find that the mass/light ratio and stellar age radial profiles have a characteristic “U-shape”. There is a good correlation between the amplitude of the down-bend in the surface brightness profile and the rate of the increase in the M/L ratio in the outer disk. As we move from late- to early-type galaxies, the amplitude of the down-bend and the radial gradient in M/L both decrease. Our results imply a combination of stellar radial migration and suppression of recent star formation can account for the stellar populations of the outer disk.

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Z. Zheng, D. Thilker, T. Heckman, et. al.
Thu, 11 Dec 14

Comments: Accepted for publication in ApJ