The origin of dwarf early-type galaxies in the Virgo cluster

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We present new medium resolution kinematic data for a sample of 21 dwarf early-type galaxies (dEs) mainly in the Virgo cluster. These data are used to study the origin of the dE population inhabiting rich clusters. Within them we detect two different subpopulations: half of the sample (52%) are rotationally supported and the other half are pressure supported. We also find that the rotationally supported dEs are located in the outer parts of the cluster, present disky morphological shapes and are younger than those pressure supported that are concentrated in the core of the cluster without any underlying structures. Our analysis reveals that the rotationally supported objects have rotation curves similarly shaped to those of star forming galaxies of similar luminosities and follow the Tully-Fisher relation. This is expected if dE galaxies are the descendant of low luminosity star forming systems which recently entered the cluster and lost their gas due to a ram pressure stripping event, quenching their star formation activity and transforming them into quiescent systems, but conserving their angular momentum.
© EAS, EDP Sciences, 2011. Conference on a Universe of Dwarf Galaxies (2010. Lyon, France).
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