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Galaxies 2015, 3(4), 212-219; doi:10.3390/galaxies3040212

The Ongoing Growth of the M87 Halo through Accretion Events

1
Max-Planck-Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstr.1, 85748 Garching, Germany
2
ESO, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str.2, 85748 Garching, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: José Alfonso López Aguerri, Enrichetta Iodice and Alexei Moiseev
Received: 14 October 2015 / Revised: 3 December 2015 / Accepted: 4 December 2015 / Published: 18 December 2015
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Abstract

Planetary nebulas (PNs) offer a unique tool to investigate the outer regions of massive galaxies because their strong [OIII]λ5007Å emission line makes them detectable out to several effective radii from the galaxy’s centre. We use a deep and extended spectroscopic survey of PNs (∼300 objects) to study the spatial distribution, the kinematics and the stellar populations in the extended outer halo of the bright elliptical galaxy M87 (NGC 4486) in the Virgo cluster. We show that in the Virgo core, M87 stellar halo and the intracluster light are two distinct dynamical components, with different velocity distributions. Moreover the synergy of the PN kinematical information and the deep V/B-band photometry revealed an ongoing accretion event in the outer regions of M87. This satellite accretion represents a non-negligible perturbation of the halo properties: beyond 60 kpc the M87 halo is still growing with 60% of its light being added by the accretion event at the distance where it is detected. View Full-Text
Keywords: clusters: individual: Virgo; galaxies: halos; galaxies: individual: M 87 (NGC 4486); planetary nebulae: general clusters: individual: Virgo; galaxies: halos; galaxies: individual: M 87 (NGC 4486); planetary nebulae: general
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Longobardi, A.; Arnaboldi, M.; Gerhard, O. The Ongoing Growth of the M87 Halo through Accretion Events. Galaxies 2015, 3, 212-219.

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