On the Formation of Galaxy Halos: Comparing NGC 5128 and the Local Group Members Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The metallicity distribution function (MDF) for the old red-giant stars in the halo of NGC 5128, the nearest giant elliptical galaxy, is virtually identical with the MDF for the old-disk stars in the LMC and also strongly resembles the halo MDF in M31. These galaxies all have high mean halo metallicities ( ~ -0.4$) with very small proportions of low-metallicity stars. These observations reinforce the view that metal-rich halos are quite normal for large galaxies of all types. Such systems are unlikely to have built up by accretion of pre-existing, gas-free small satellite galaxies, unless these satellites had an extremely shallow mass distribution (d log N / d log M > -1). We suggest that the halo of NGC 5128 is more likely to have assembled from hierarchical merging of gas-rich lumps in which the bulk of star formation took place during or after the merger stage.

publication date

  • December 2001