Vol 11, No 3

Surface photometry and radial color gradients of nearby luminous early-type galaxies in SDSS Stripe 82

Fang-Zhou Jiang, Song Huang, Qiu-Sheng Gu


Abstract We make use of the images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 (Stripe 82) to present an analysis of r band surface brightness profiles and radial color gradients (g-r, u-r) in our sample of 111 nearby early-type galaxies (ETGs). Thanks to the Stripe 82 images, each of which is co-added from about 50 single frames, we are able to pay special attention to the low-surface-brightness areas (LSB areas) of the galaxies. The LSB areas affect the Sérsic fittings and concentration indices by making both of the indices less than the typical values for ETGs. In the Sérsic fits to all the surface brightness profiles, we found some Sérsic indices that range from 1.5 to 2.5, much smaller than those of typical de Vaucouleur profiles and relatively close to those of exponential disks, and some others much larger than four but still with accurate fitting. Two galaxies cannot be fitted with a single Sérsic profile, but once we try double Sérsic profiles, the fittings are improved: one with a profile relatively close to the de Vaucouleur law in the inner area and a profile relatively close to an exponential law in the LSB area, the other with a nice fitting in the inner area but still having a failed fitting in the outer area. About 60% of the sample has negative color gradients (red-core) within 1.5Re, much more than the approximately 10% positive ones (blue-core) within the same radius. However, taking into account the LSB areas, we find that the color gradients are not necessarily monotonic: about one third of the red-core (or blue-core) galaxies have positive (or negative) color gradients in the outer areas. So LSB areas not only make ETGs' Sérsic profiles deviate from de Vaucouleur ones and shift to the disk end, but also reveal that quite a number of ETGs have opposite color gradients in inner and outer areas. These outcomes remind us of the necessity of double-Sérsic fitting. These LSB phenomena may be interpreted by mergers and thus have different metallicity in the outer areas. Isophotal parameters are also discussed briefly in this paper with the following conclusion: there are more disky nearby ETGs that are identified than boxy ones.


Keywords galaxies: early-type galaxies — galaxies: surface brightness profiles and color gradients — techniques: photometric

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