Do blue compact galaxies have red halos?
2009 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Red halos are faint, extended and extremely red structures that have been reported around various types of galaxies since the mid-1990s. The colours of these halos are too red to be reconciled with any hitherto known type of stellar population, and instead indicative of a very bottom-heavy stellar initial mass function (IMF). Due to the large mass-to-light ratios of such stellar halos, they could contribute substantially to the baryonic masses of galaxies while adding very little to their overall luminosities. The red halos of galaxies therefore constitute potential reservoirs for some of the baryons still missing from inventories in the low-redshift Universe. While most studies of red halos have focused on disk galaxies, a red excess has also been reported in the faint outskirts of blue compact galaxies (BCGs). A bottom-heavy IMF can explain the colours of these structures as well, but due to model degeneracies, stellar populations with standard IMFs and abnormally high metallicities have also been demonstrated to fit the data. Here, we show that due to recent developments in the field of spectral synthesis, the metallicities required in this alternative scenario may be less extreme than previously thought. This suggests that the red excess seen in the outskirts of BCGs may stem from a normal, intermediate-metallicity host galaxy rather than a red halo of the type seen around disk galaxies. The inferred host metallicity does, however, still require the host to be more metal-rich than the gas in the central starburst of BCGs, in contradiction with current simulations of how BCGs form.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Astrophysics - Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-36188OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-36188DiVA: diva2:288920