SDSS-IV MaStar: a Large, Comprehensive, and High Quality Empirical Stellar Library [GA]

We introduce the ongoing MaStar project, which is going to construct a large, well-calibrated, high quality empirical stellar library with more than 8000 stars covering the wavelength range from 3622 to 10,354A at a resolution of R~2000, and with better than 3% relative flux calibration. The spectra are taken using hexagonal fiber bundles feeding the BOSS spectrographs on the 2.5m Sloan Foundation Telescope, by piggybacking on the SDSS-IV/APOGEE-2 observations. Compared to previous efforts of empirical libraries, the MaStar Library will have a more comprehensive stellar parameter coverage, especially in cool dwarfs, low metallicity stars, and stars with different [alpha/Fe]. This is achieved by a target selection method based on large spectroscopic catalogs from APOGEE, LAMOST, and SEGUE, combined with photometric selection. This empirical library will provide a new basis for calibrating theoretical spectral libraries and for stellar population synthesis. In addition, with identical spectral coverage and resolution to the ongoing integral field spectroscopy survey of nearby galaxies — SDSS-IV/MaNGA (Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO). This library is ideal for spectral modeling and stellar population analysis of MaNGA data.

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R. Yan and MaStar. Team
Thu, 17 Aug 17

Comments: Conference proceeding for the International Workshop on Spectral Stellar Libraries held in Campos de Jordao, SP, Brazil in Feburary 2017

Spatially resolved MaNGA observations of the host galaxy of superluminous supernova 2017egm [GA]

Superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) have been found predominantly in dwarf galaxies, indicating that their progenitor stars are of low metallicity. However, the most nearby SLSN 2017egm occurred in the spiral galaxy NGC 3191, which has a high stellar mass and correspondingly high metallicity. We present the measurements of the environmental properties at the position of SN 2017egm using MaNGA IFU data, and find that the metallicity at the SN location is 12+log(O/H) = 9.11+/-0.01 in the R23 scale, and 12+log(O/H) = 8.77+/-0.01 in the O3N2 scale. From the velocity map, there is no evidence of a morphological disturbance, or any indication that the SLSN occurred within a satellite galaxy. The equivalent width (EW) of H-alpha at the SN position is 33.7+/-3.3 Angs, and the [O III] nebular line emission is also very low (EW of 2.2+/-0.2 Angs). When using BPASS synthetic population models that include interacting binaries in the populations, the H-alpha EW corresponds to a stellar population with an age of 25-40 Myr and a ZAMS of 8-11 solar mass. This is around two times lower than predications from BPASS models comprising of only single stars. We also compare the observed properties of NGC 3191 with other SLSN host galaxies. The solar-metallicity environment at the position of SN 2017egm presents a challenge to our theoretical understanding, and our spatially resolved spectral analysis provides further constrains on the progenitors of SLSNe.

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T. Chen, P. Schady, L. Xiao, et. al.
Thu, 17 Aug 17

Comments: Submitted to the ApJ Letter, 7 pages, 4 figures and 1 table. Comments are welcome! Good weather for the total solar eclipse!

The puzzling interpretation of NIR indices: The case of NaI2.21 [GA]

We present a detailed study of the Na I line strength index centered in the $K$-band at $22100$, {\AA} (NaI2.21 hereafter) relying on different samples of early-type galaxies. Consistent with previous studies, we find that the observed line strength indices cannot be fit by state-of-art scaled-solar stellar population models, even using our newly developed models in the NIR. The models clearly underestimate the large NaI2.21 values measured for most early-type galaxies. However, we develop a Na-enhanced version of our newly developed models in the NIR, which – together with the effect of a bottom-heavy initial mass function – yield NaI2.21 indices in the range of the observations. Therefore, we suggest a scenario in which the combined effect of [Na/Fe] enhancement and a bottom-heavy initial mass function are mainly responsible for the large NaI2.21 indices observed for most early-type galaxies. To a smaller extent, also [C/Fe] enhancement might contribute to the large observed NaI2.21 values.

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B. Rock, A. Vazdekis, F. Barbera, et. al.
Thu, 17 Aug 17

Comments: 13 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

The Chemical Evolution Carousel of Spiral Galaxies: Azimuthal Variations of Oxygen Abundance in NGC1365 [GA]

The spatial distribution of oxygen in the interstellar medium of galaxies is the key to understanding how efficiently metals that are synthesized in massive stars can be redistributed across a galaxy. We present here a case study in the nearby spiral galaxy NGC1365 using 3D optical data obtained in the TYPHOON Program. We find systematic azimuthal variations of the HII region oxygen abundance imprinted on a negative radial gradient. The 0.2 dex azimuthal variations occur over a wide radial range of 0.3 to 0.7 R25 and peak at the two spiral arms in NGC1365. We show that the azimuthal variations can be explained by two physical processes: gas undergoes localized, sub-kpc scale self-enrichment when orbiting in the inter-arm region, and experiences efficient, kpc scale mixing-induced dilution when spiral density waves pass through. We construct a simple chemical evolution model to quantitatively test this picture and find that our toy model can reproduce the observations. This result suggests that the observed abundance variations in NGC1365 are a snapshot of the dynamical local enrichment of oxygen modulated by spiral-driven, periodic mixing and dilution.

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I. Ho, M. Seibert, S. Meidt, et. al.
Thu, 17 Aug 17

Comments: 19 pages, 13 figures. Accepted to ApJ

Evidence of a Bottom-heavy Initial Mass Function in Massive Early-type Galaxies from Near-infrared Metal Lines [GA]

We present new evidence for a variable stellar initial mass function (IMF) in massive early-type galaxies, using high-resolution, near-infrared spectroscopy from the Folded-port InfraRed Echellette spectrograph (FIRE) on the Magellan Baade Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory. In this pilot study, we observe several gravity-sensitive metal lines between 1.1 $\mu$m and 1.3 $\mu$m in eight highly-luminous ($L \sim 10 L_*$) nearby galaxies. Thanks to the broad wavelength coverage of FIRE, we are also able to observe the Ca II triplet feature, which helps with our analysis. After measuring the equivalent widths (EWs) of these lines, we notice mild to moderate trends between EW and central velocity dispersion ($\sigma$), with some species (K I, Na I, Mn I) showing a positive EW-$\sigma$ correlation and others (Mg I, Ca II, Fe I) a negative one. To minimize the effects of metallicity, we measure the ratio $R$ = [EW(K I) / EW(Mg I)], finding a significant systematic increase in this ratio with respect to $\sigma$. We then probe for variations in the IMF by comparing the measured line ratios to the values expected in several IMF models. Overall, we find that low-mass galaxies ($\sigma \sim 100$ km s$^{-1}$) favor a Chabrier IMF, while high-mass galaxies ($\sigma \sim 350$ km s$^{-1}$) are better described with a steeper (dwarf-rich) IMF slope. While we note that our galaxy sample is small and may suffer from selection effects, these initial results are still promising. A larger sample of galaxies will therefore provide an even clearer picture of IMF trends in this regime.

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D. Lagattuta, J. Mould, D. Forbes, et. al.
Thu, 17 Aug 17

Comments: 17 pages, 10 figures, 6 tables. Accepted for publication in ApJ

The Nature of Deeply Buried Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies: A Unified Model for Highly Obscured Dusty Galaxy Emission [GA]

We present radiative transfer models of deeply buried ultraluminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) spectral energy distributions and use them to construct a three-dimensional diagram for diagnosing the nature of ULIRG nuclei. Our diagnostic is based upon the properties dominating mid-IR continua of low-redshift ULIRGs: continuum slope, PAH equivalent width, and silicate feature strength. We use our diagnostic to analyze archival Spitzer Space Telescope IRS spectra of ULIRGs and find that: (1) >75% (in some cases 100%) of the bolometric luminosities of the most deeply buried ULIRGs must be powered by a hidden active galactic nucleus; (2) the observed absence of deeply buried ULIRGs with large PAH equivalent widths is naturally explained by our models showing that deep absorption features are quickly “filled-in” by small quantities of unobscured PAH emission at the level of ~1% the bolometric nuclear luminosity (e.g., as emitted by the host galaxy disk); and (3) an unobscured “keyhole” view through <~10% of the obscuring medium surrounding a deeply buried ULIRG is sufficient to make it appear nearly unobscured in the mid-IR. This modeling and analysis of deeply buried galaxy spectra also provides a powerful tool for interpreting the mid-IR spectra of high-redshift sources to be obtained with superb angular resolution using the James Webb Space Telescope.

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J. Marshall, M. Elitzur, L. Armus, et. al.
Thu, 17 Aug 17

Comments: 14 pages, 8 figures, submitted to ApJ

Galaxy Zoo and SpArcFiRe: Constraints on spiral arm formation mechanisms from spiral arm number and pitch angles [GA]

In this paper we study the morphological properties of spiral galaxies, including measurements of spiral arm number and pitch angle. Using Galaxy Zoo 2, a stellar mass-complete sample of 6,222 SDSS spiral galaxies is selected. We use the machine vision algorithm SpArcFiRe to identify spiral arm features and measure their associated geometries. A support vector machine classifier is employed to identify reliable spiral features, with which we are able to estimate pitch angles for half of our sample. We use these machine measurements to calibrate visual estimates of arm tightness, and hence estimate pitch angles for our entire sample. The properties of spiral arms are compared with respect to various galaxy properties. The star formation properties of galaxies vary significantly with arm number, but not pitch angle. We find that galaxies hosting strong bars have spiral arms substantially ($4-6^\mathrm{o}$) looser than unbarred galaxies. Accounting for this, spiral arms associated with many-arm structures are looser (by 2$^\mathrm{o}$) than those in two-arm galaxies. In contrast to this average trend, galaxies with greater bulge-to-total stellar mass ratios display both fewer and looser spiral arms. This effect is primarily driven by the galaxy disc, such that galaxies with more massive discs contain more spiral arms with tighter pitch angles. This implies that galaxy central mass concentration is not the dominant cause of pitch angle and arm number variations between galaxies, which in turn suggests that not all spiral arms are governed by classical density waves or modal theories.

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R. Hart, S. Bamford, W. Hayes, et. al.
Thu, 17 Aug 17

Comments: 18 pages, 13 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS