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Being wise II : reducing the influence of star formation history on the mass-to-light ratio of quiescent galaxies

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Abstract
Stellar population synthesis models can now reproduce the photometry of old stellar systems (age > 2 Gyr) in the near-infrared (NIR) bands at 3.4 and 4.6 mu m (WISE W1 and W2 or IRAC 1 and 2). In this paper,. we derive stellar mass-to-light ratios for these and optical bands, and confirm that the NIR M/L shows dramatically reduced sensitivity to both age and metallicity compared to optical bands, and further, that this behavior leads to significantly more robust stellar masses for quiescent galaxies with [Fe/H] greater than or similar to -0.5 regardless of star-formation history (SFH). We then use realistic early-type galaxy SFHs and metallicity distributions from the EAGLE simulations of galaxy formation to investigate two methods to determine the appropriate M/L for a galaxy. (1) We show that the uncertainties introduced by an unknown SFH can be largely removed using a spectroscopically inferred luminosity-weighted age and metallicity for the population to select the appropriate single stellar population (SSP) equivalent M/L. Using this method, the maximum systematic error due to SFH on the M/L of an early-type galaxy is < 4% at 3.4 mu m and typical uncertainties due to errors in the age and metallicity create a scatter of less than or similar to 13%. The equivalent values for optical bands are more than two to three times greater, even before considering uncertainties associated with internal dust extinction. (2) We demonstrate that if the EAGLE SFHs and metallicities accurately reproduce the true properties of early-type galaxies, the use of an iterative approach to select a mass dependent M/L can provide even more accurate stellar masses for early-type galaxies, with typical uncertainties of < 9%.
Keywords
STELLAR POPULATION SYNTHESIS, DIGITAL SKY SURVEY, MU-M, EAGLE, SIMULATIONS, GLOBULAR-CLUSTERS, VLT SPECTROSCOPY, SPACE-TELESCOPE, FORMATION RATES, SPITZER SURVEY, EVOLUTION, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: formation, galaxies: stellar content, methods: observational, techniques: photometric

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MLA
Norris, Mark A. et al. “Being Wise II : Reducing the Influence of Star Formation History on the Mass-to-light Ratio of Quiescent Galaxies.” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 832.2 (2016): n. pag. Print.
APA
Norris, M. A., Van de Ven, G., Schinnerer, E., Crain, R. A., van der Wel, S. M., Groves, B., Bower, R. G., et al. (2016). Being wise II : reducing the influence of star formation history on the mass-to-light ratio of quiescent galaxies. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 832(2).
Chicago author-date
Norris, Mark A., Glenn Van de Ven, Eva Schinnerer, Robert A. Crain, Sharon Meidt van der Wel, Brent Groves, Richard G. Bower, et al. 2016. “Being Wise II : Reducing the Influence of Star Formation History on the Mass-to-light Ratio of Quiescent Galaxies.” Astrophysical Journal 832 (2).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Norris, Mark A., Glenn Van de Ven, Eva Schinnerer, Robert A. Crain, Sharon Meidt van der Wel, Brent Groves, Richard G. Bower, Michelle Furlong, Matthieu Schaller, Joop Schaye, and Tom Theuns. 2016. “Being Wise II : Reducing the Influence of Star Formation History on the Mass-to-light Ratio of Quiescent Galaxies.” Astrophysical Journal 832 (2).
Vancouver
1.
Norris MA, Van de Ven G, Schinnerer E, Crain RA, van der Wel SM, Groves B, et al. Being wise II : reducing the influence of star formation history on the mass-to-light ratio of quiescent galaxies. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL. 2016;832(2).
IEEE
[1]
M. A. Norris et al., “Being wise II : reducing the influence of star formation history on the mass-to-light ratio of quiescent galaxies,” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, vol. 832, no. 2, 2016.
@article{8622234,
  abstract     = {Stellar population synthesis models can now reproduce the photometry of old stellar systems (age > 2 Gyr) in the near-infrared (NIR) bands at 3.4 and 4.6 mu m (WISE W1 and W2 or IRAC 1 and 2). In this paper,. we derive stellar mass-to-light ratios for these and optical bands, and confirm that the NIR M/L shows dramatically reduced sensitivity to both age and metallicity compared to optical bands, and further, that this behavior leads to significantly more robust stellar masses for quiescent galaxies with [Fe/H] greater than or similar to -0.5 regardless of star-formation history (SFH). We then use realistic early-type galaxy SFHs and metallicity distributions from the EAGLE simulations of galaxy formation to investigate two methods to determine the appropriate M/L for a galaxy. (1) We show that the uncertainties introduced by an unknown SFH can be largely removed using a spectroscopically inferred luminosity-weighted age and metallicity for the population to select the appropriate single stellar population (SSP) equivalent M/L. Using this method, the maximum systematic error due to SFH on the M/L of an early-type galaxy is < 4% at 3.4 mu m and typical uncertainties due to errors in the age and metallicity create a scatter of less than or similar to 13%. The equivalent values for optical bands are more than two to three times greater, even before considering uncertainties associated with internal dust extinction. (2) We demonstrate that if the EAGLE SFHs and metallicities accurately reproduce the true properties of early-type galaxies, the use of an iterative approach to select a mass dependent M/L can provide even more accurate stellar masses for early-type galaxies, with typical uncertainties of < 9%.},
  articleno    = {198},
  author       = {Norris, Mark A. and Van de Ven, Glenn and Schinnerer, Eva and Crain, Robert A. and van der Wel, Sharon Meidt and Groves, Brent and Bower, Richard G. and Furlong, Michelle and Schaller, Matthieu and Schaye, Joop and Theuns, Tom},
  issn         = {0004-637X},
  journal      = {ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL},
  keywords     = {STELLAR POPULATION SYNTHESIS,DIGITAL SKY SURVEY,MU-M,EAGLE,SIMULATIONS,GLOBULAR-CLUSTERS,VLT SPECTROSCOPY,SPACE-TELESCOPE,FORMATION RATES,SPITZER SURVEY,EVOLUTION,galaxies: evolution,galaxies: formation,galaxies: stellar content,methods: observational,techniques: photometric},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {14},
  title        = {Being wise II : reducing the influence of star formation history on the mass-to-light ratio of quiescent galaxies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/0004-637X/832/2/198},
  volume       = {832},
  year         = {2016},
}

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