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Metallicity gradients in the globular cluster systems of early-type galaxies: in situ and accreted components?
Forbes, Duncan A.; Remus, Rhea-Silvia
AA(Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia), AB(Universitäts-Sternwarte München, Scheinerstr. 1, D-81679 München, Germany; Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, 60 St. George Street, University of Toronto, Toronto ON M5S 3H8, Canada)
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 479, Issue 4, p.4760-4769 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Astronomy Keywords:
galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: haloes, galaxies: star clusters
Abstract Copyright:
2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:


Massive early-type galaxies typically have two subpopulations of globular clusters (GCs) which often reveal radial colour (metallicity) gradients. Collating gradients from the literature, we show that the gradients in the metal-rich and metal-poor GC subpopulations are the same, within measurement uncertainties, in a given galaxy. Furthermore, these GC gradients are similar in strength to the stellar metallicity gradient of the host galaxy. At the very largest radii (e.g. greater than 8 galaxy effective radii), there is some evidence that the GC gradients become flat with near constant mean metallicity. Using stellar metallicity gradients as a proxy, we probe the assembly histories of massive early-type galaxies with hydrodynamical simulations from the Magneticum suite of models. In particular, we measure the stellar metallicity gradient for the in situ and accreted components over a similar radial range as those observed for GC subpopulations. We find that the in situ and accreted stellar metallicity gradients are similar but have a larger scatter than the metal-rich and metal-poor GC subpopulations' gradients in a given galaxy. We conclude that although metal-rich GCs are predominately formed during the in situ phase and metal-poor GCs during the accretion phase of massive galaxy formation, they do not have a strict one-to-one connection.
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