Formation of SO galaxies through mergers: antitruncated stellar discs resulting from major mergers

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Borlaff, Alejandro
Eliche Moral, María del Carmen
Rodríguez Pérez, Cristina
Querejeta, Miguel
Tapia, Tinidad
Beckman, John
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Context. Lenticular galaxies (S0’s) are more likely to host antitruncated (Type-III) stellar discs than galaxies of later Hubble types. Major mergers are popularly considered too violent mechanisms to form these breaks. Aims. We have investigated whether major mergers can result into S0-like remnants with realistic antitruncated stellar discs or not. Methods. We have analysed 67 relaxed S0 and E/S0 remnants resulting from dissipative N-body simulations of major mergers from the GalMer database. We have simulated realistic R-band surface brightness profiles of the remnants to identify those with antitruncated stellar discs. Their inner and outer discs and the breaks have been quantitatively characterized to compare with real data. Results. Nearly 70% of our S0-like remnants are antitruncated, meaning that major mergers that result in S0’s have a high probability of producing Type-III stellar discs. Our remnants lie on top of the extrapolations of the observational trends (towards brighter magnitudes and higher break radii) in several photometric diagrams, due to the higher luminosities and sizes of the simulations compared to observational samples. In scale-free photometric diagrams, simulations and observations overlap and the remnants reproduce the observational trends, so the physical mechanism after antitruncations is highly scalable. We have found novel photometric scaling relations between the characteristic parameters of the antitruncations in real S0’s, which are also reproduced by our simulations. We show that the trends in all the photometric planes can be derived from three basic scaling relations that real and simulated Type-III S0’s fulfill: h_i ∝ R_brkIII, h_o ∝ R_brkIII, and μ_brkIII ∝ R_brkIII, where h_i and h_o are the scalelenghts of the inner and outer discs, and μ_brkIII and R_brkIII are the surface brightness and radius of the breaks. Bars and antitruncations in real S0’s are structurally unrelated phenomena according to the studied photometric planes. Conclusions. Mayor mergers provide a feasible mechanism to form realistic antitruncated S0 galaxies.
© ESO, 2014. Acknowledgements. The authors thank to the anonymous referee for the provided input that helped to improve this publication significantly. The current study would not have been possible without the GalMer database, so the authors would like to acknowledge I.Chilingarian, P.Di Matteo, F. Combes, A.-L.Melchior, and B. Semelin for creating it, and specially P.Di Matteo for her kind support on the models when requested. We really appreciate the helpful discussions with Raffaella Marino (UCM) on the dust extinction of early-type galaxies, as well as the KS2D code, made publicly available by his author, Peter Yoachim (UW). We acknowledge the usage of the HyperLeda database ( This research has made use of the NASA’s Astrophysics Data System and NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) under projects AYA2006-12955, AYA2009-10368, AYA2012- 30717, AYA2012-31277, and AYA-67625-CO2-01 from the Spanish Ministry of Science, P3/86 of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and by de Madrid Regional Government through the AstroMadrid Project (CAM S2009/ESP-1496, Funded by the Spanish MICINN under the Consolider-Ingenio 2010 Program grant CSD2006-0070: "First Science with the GTC" (, and by the Spanish programme of International Campus of Excellence Moncloa (CEI).
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