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Ultraviolet radiation from evolved stellar populations. 2: The ultraviolet upturn phenomenon in elliptical galaxies
Dorman, Ben; O'Connell, Robert W.; Rood, Robert T.
AA(University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, US), AB(University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, US), AC(University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, US)
The Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 442, no. 1, p. 105-141 (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Elliptical Galaxies, Globular Clusters, Spiral Galaxies, Star Distribution, Stellar Composition, Stellar Evolution, Stellar Models, Ultraviolet Radiation, Abundance, Color, Data Reduction, Metallicity, Spectrum Analysis, Ultraviolet Spectra
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We discuss the far-ultraviolet upturn phenomenon (UVX) observed in elliptical galaxies and spiral galaxy bulges. Our premise is the UV radiation from these systems emanates primarily from extreme horizontal branch (EHB) stars and their progeny. We derive the broad-band UV colors 1500-V and 2500-V for globular clusters and elliptical galaxies from the available satellite data and investigate color-color and color-line strength correlation. Clusters can be bluer than any galaxy in 15-V and 25-V, implying larger hot star populations, but galaxies are significantly bluer than clusters in 15-25 at a given 15-V. We attribute this primarily to the effect of metal abundance on the mid-UV (2500 A) light. These redder colors of the galaxies also imply that the UVX in galaxies is not produced by metal-poor subpopulations similar to the clusters. We devlop a simple spectral synthesis formulation for all phases of single star evolution from the zero-age main sequence (ZAMS) to the white dwarf cooling track that requires only one or two parameters for each choice of age and abundance. We provide the ingredients necessary for constructing models with arbitrary horizontal branch (HB) morphologies in the age range 2 less than t less than 20 Gyr and for six metallicities in the range -2.26 less than (Fe/H) less than 0.58; we also consider the efect of enhanced Y in metal-rich models. The maximum lifetime UV output is produced by EHB stars with (Menv)0 approximately 0.02 solar mass and can be up to 30 times higher than for post-asymptotic giant branch (P-AGB) stars. The ultraviolet output of old populations is governed primarily by the distribution of (Menv)0P(Menv)0, on the ZAHB. The UV output is not very sensitive to (Fe/H) or to Y, but it can change very rapidly with (Menv)0. Thus it is extremely sensitive to the precise nature of giant-branch mass loss. Our models use simple descriptions of P(Menv)0 to bracket the colors produced from any real distribution of stars. Our models accurately predict the range of UV colors observed for the globular clusters, given known constraints on their age, abundances, and HB morphologies. We find that models with (Fe/H) greater than or = 0 that do not contain EHB stars cannot reproduce the colors of most of the galaxies. The models also predict that the fraction of the far-UV light from P-AGB stars, which are spatially resolvable in nearby galaxies, is approximately 70% and approximately 20% for moderate UVX and strong UVX systems, respectively. We find that 25-V, but not 15-V, is sensitive to the age and abundance, though these cannot always be cleanly distinguished. The galaxy colors place limits of (Fe/H) greater than -0.5 and less than 15% on the contribution of globular cluster-type populations to the V light. <Galaxy colors are consistent with solar-abundance models with ages in the range 6-14 Gyr. &We discuss several implications of the observations and the models, including the question of light metal versus iron peak enhancements in galaxies, whether the UV color-Mg2 correlation is continuous or discrete, effects of helium abundnace on the UVX, and the key question of whether red giant branch mass loss can be large enough to produce the necessary EHB population in the strong UVX galaxies.

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