Wednesday 1st Nov 2012


The Atlas3D project – XIV. The extent and kinematics of molecular gas in early-type galaxies

Timothy A. Davis, Katherine Alatalo, Martin Bureau, Michele Cappellari, Nicholas Scott, Lisa M. Young, Leo Blitz, Alison F. Crocker, Estelle Bayet, Maxime Bois, Frédéric Bournaud, Roger L. Davies, P. Tim de Zeeuw, Pierre-Alain Duc, Eric Emsellem, Sadegh Khochfar, Davor Krajnović, Harald Kuntschner, Pierre-Yves Lablanche, Richard M. McDermid, Raffaella Morganti, Thorsten Naab, Tom Oosterloo, Marc Sarzi, Paolo Serra, Anne-Marie Weijmans

We use interferometric CO observations to compare the extent, surface brightness profiles and kinematics of the molecular gas in CO-rich Atlas3D early-type galaxies (ETGs) and spiral galaxies. We find that the molecular gas extent is smaller in absolute terms in ETGs than in late-type galaxies, but that the size distributions are similar once scaled by the galaxies optical/stellar characteristic scale-lengths. Virgo cluster ETGs have less extended molecular gas reservoirs than field counterparts. Approximately half of ETGs have molecular gas surface brightness profiles that follow the stellar light profile. These systems often have relaxed gas out to large radii, suggesting they are unlikely to have had recent merger/accretion events. A third of the sample galaxies show molecular gas surface brightness profiles that fall off slower than the light, and sometimes show a truncation. We suggest that ram pressure stripping and/or the presence of hot gas has compressed/truncated the gas in these systems. The remaining galaxies have rings, or composite profiles, that we argue can be caused by the effects of bars. We investigated the kinematics of the molecular gas using position-velocity diagrams, and compared the observed kinematics with dynamical model predictions, and the observed stellar and ionised gas velocities. We confirm that the molecular gas reaches beyond the turnover of the circular velocity curve in ~70% of our CO-rich Atlas3D ETGs. In general we find that in most galaxies the molecular gas is relaxed and dynamically cold. Molecular gas is a better direct tracer of the circular velocity than the ionised gas, justifying its use as a kinematic tracer for Tully-Fisher and similar analyses. (abridged)

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