Oral Presentation Astronomical Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting including HWWS 2013

How environment affects early-type galaxies - insights from integral-field spectroscopy surveys (#74)

Nicholas Scott 1 , Roger Davies 2 , Michele Cappellari 2 , Alister W Graham 1 , Ryan Houghton 2 , Kevin Pimbblet 3
  1. Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC, Australia
  2. Subdepartment of Astrophyiscs,, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  3. School of Physics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Nature vs. nurture is one of the most hotly debated topics in galaxy evolution, with no clear consensus on what role, if any, the environment of a galaxy plays in determining its physical properties.  The advent of large, 3D integral field spectroscopy surveys of galaxies in the local Universe has opened up an exciting new avenue to address this question. By determining, for the first time, spatially resolved properties of statistically significant samples of galaxies spanning the full range of environments, we can now hope to disentangle the subtle but key signatures of the environmental transformation of galaxies.

The ATLAS3D survey1 , the first truly large-scale integral field survey of nearby galaxies, found a strong dependence of the kinematics of the stars within an early-type galaxy on its local environment. To follow up this exciting new result, a series of smaller integral field projects have studied the early-type galaxy populations in a range of nearby environments including the Fornax, Virgo, Coma and Abell1689 clusters as well as the general field. I will present the results of each of these individual projects, then describe the overall picture they present of how early-type galaxy kinematics vary with environment and how these results help reveal the processes responsible for the environmental transformation of galaxies. Finally I will outline how Australian astronomy, through SAMI and other instruments, is perfectly positioned to lead the way in the area of large-scale 3D galaxy evolution studies.

  1. Cappellari et al., 2011, MNRAS, 413, 813