Julianne J. Dalcanton

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, WA, United States

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Publications (311)1050.65 Total impact

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    Sara Seager · Julianne J. Dalcanton · Marc Postman · Jason Tumlinson · John C. Mather
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    ABSTRACT: To ensure progress in astronomy over the coming decades, the key questions are "what facilities will we build, and when?" Toward this end, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) recently commissioned a study on future space-based options for UV and optical astronomy. The resulting study - "From Cosmic Births to Living Earths" - concluded that a space telescope equipped with a 12-meter class primary mirror would make fundamental advances across virtually all of astrophysics, including finding and characterizing the atmospheres of dozens of Earth-like planets. This ambitious telescope concept is referred to as the High Definition Space Telescope (HDST). In a recent arXiv white paper, Elvis (2015) critiqued a subset of the findings of the AURA study, focusing on the detection and characterization of rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone. In this response, we clarify these issues to confirm that HDST would play a transformative role in the study of terrestrial worlds. Its capabilities for studying exoplanets would be truly unique, even in 2035, and would complement HDST's broad and deep range of exciting astrophysics.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The duration of a starburst is a fundamental parameter affecting the evolution of galaxies yet, to date, observational constraints on the durations of starbursts are not well established. Here we study the recent star formation histories of three nearby dwarf galaxies to rigorously quantify the duration of their starburst events using a uniform and consistent approach. We find that the bursts range from ∼200 to ∼400 Myr in duration resolving the tension between the shorter timescales often derived observationally with the longer timescales derived from dynamical arguments. If these three starbursts are typical of starbursts in dwarf galaxies, then the short timescales (3–10 Myr) associated with starbursts in previous studies are best understood as "flickering" events which are simply small components of the larger starburst. In this sample of three nearby dwarfs, the bursts are not localized events. All three systems show bursting levels of star formation in regions of both high and low stellar density. The enhanced star formation moves around the galaxy during the bursts and covers a large fraction of the area of the galaxy. These massive, long-duration bursts can significantly affect the structure, dynamics, and chemical evolution of the host galaxy and can be the progenitors of "superwinds" that drive much of the recently chemically enriched material from the galaxy into the intergalactic medium.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We present a study of spatial variations in the metallicity of old red giant branch stars in the Andromeda galaxy. Photometric metallicity estimates are derived by interpolating isochrones for over seven million stars in the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) survey. This is the first systematic study of stellar metallicities over the inner 20 kpc of Andromeda's galactic disk. We see a clear metallicity gradient of $-0.020\pm0.004$ dex/kpc from $\sim4-20$ kpc assuming a constant RGB age. This metallicity gradient is derived after correcting for the effects of photometric bias and completeness and dust extinction and is quite insensitive to these effects. The unknown age gradient in M31's disk creates the dominant systematic uncertainty in our derived metallicity gradient. However, spectroscopic analyses of galaxies similar to M31 show that they typically have small age gradients that make this systematic error comparable to the 1$\sigma$ error on our metallicity gradient measurement. In addition to the metallicity gradient, we observe an asymmetric local enhancement in metallicity at radii of 3-6 kpc that appears to be associated with Andromeda's elongated bar. This same region also appears to have an enhanced stellar density and velocity dispersion.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The Astronomical Journal
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    Marc Postman · Heidi Hammel · Julianne Dalcanton · Sara Seager

    Preview · Article · Oct 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We map the distribution of dust in M31 at 25pc resolution, using stellar photometry from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury. We develop a new mapping technique that models the NIR color-magnitude diagram (CMD) of red giant branch (RGB) stars. The model CMDs combine an unreddened foreground of RGB stars with a reddened background population viewed through a log-normal column density distribution of dust. Fits to the model constrain the median extinction, the width of the extinction distribution, and the fraction of reddened stars. The resulting extinction map has >4 times better resolution than maps of dust emission, while providing a more direct measurement of the dust column. There is superb morphological agreement between the new map and maps of the extinction inferred from dust emission by Draine et al. 2014. However, the widely-used Draine & Li (2007) dust models overpredict the observed extinction by a factor of ~2.5, suggesting that M31's true dust mass is lower and that dust grains are significantly more emissive than assumed in Draine et al. (2014). The discrepancy we identify is consistent with similar findings in the Milky Way by the Planck Collaboration (2015), but has a more complex dependence on parameters from the Draine & Li (2007) dust models. We also show that the discrepancy with the Draine et al. (2014) map is lowest where the interstellar radiation field has a harder spectrum than average. We discuss possible improvements to the CMD dust mapping technique, and explore further applications.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We present a sample of 11 M31 Cepheids in stellar clusters, derived from the overlap of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) cluster catalog and the Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) disk Cepheid catalog. After identifying the PS1 Cepheids in the HST catalog, we calibrate the PS1 mean magnitudes using the higher resolution HST photometry, revealing up to 1 magnitude offsets due to crowding effects in the ground-based catalog. We measure ages of the clusters by performing single stellar population fits to their color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) excluding their Cepheids. From these cluster age measurements, we derive an empirical period-age relation which agrees well with the existing literature values. By confirming this relation for M31 Cepheids, we justify its application in high-precision pointwise age estimation across M31.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Stationary density waves rotating at a constant pattern speed $\Omega_{\rm P}$ would produce age gradients across spiral arms. We test whether such age gradients are present in M81 by deriving the recent star formation histories (SFHs) of 20 regions around one of M81's grand-design spiral arms. For each region, we use resolved stellar populations to determine the SFH by modeling the observed color-magnitude diagram (CMD) constructed from archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) F435W and F606W imaging. Although we should be able to detect systematic time delays in our spatially-resolved SFHs, we find no evidence of star formation propagation across the spiral arm. Our data therefore provide no convincing evidence for a stationary density wave with a single pattern speed in M81, and instead favor the scenario of kinematic spiral patterns that are likely driven by tidal interactions with the companion galaxies M82 and NGC 3077.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We explore the ratio (C/M) of carbon-rich to oxygen-rich thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch(TP-AGB) stars in the disk of M31 using a combination of moderate-resolution optical spectroscopy from the Spectroscopic Landscape of Andromeda's Stellar Halo (SPLASH) survey and six-filter Hubble Space Telescope photometry from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) survey.Carbon stars were identified spectroscopically. Oxygen-rich M-stars were identifed using three different photometric definitions designed to mimic, and thus evaluate, selection techniques common in the literature. We calculate the C/M ratio as a function of galactocentric radius, present-day gas-phase oxygen abundance, stellar metallicity, age (via proxy defined as the ratio of TP-AGB stars to red giant branch, RGB, stars), and mean star formation rate over the last 400 Myr. We find statistically significant correlations between log(C/M) and all parameters. These trends are consistent across different M-star selection methods, though the fiducial values change. Of particular note is our observed relationship between log(C/M) and stellar metallicity, which is fully consistent with the trend seen across Local Group satellite galaxies. The fact that this trend persists in stellar populations with very different star formation histories indicates that the C/M ratio is governed by stellar properties alone.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: For the first time in history, humans have reached the point where it is possible to construct a revolutionary space-based observatory that has the capability to find dozens of Earth-like worlds, and possibly some with signs of life. This same telescope, designed as a long-lived facility, would also produce transformational scientific advances in every area of astronomy and astrophysics from black hole physics to galaxy formation, from star and planet formation to the origins of the Solar System. The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) commissioned a study on a next-generation UVOIR space observatory with the highest possible scientific impact in the era following JWST. This community-based study focuses on the future space-based options for UV and optical astronomy that significantly advance our understanding of the origin and evolution of the cosmos and the life within it. The committee concludes that a space telescope equipped with a 12-meter class primary mirror can find and characterize dozens of Earth-like planets and make fundamental advances across nearly all fields of astrophysics. The concept is called the High Definition Space Telescope (HDST). The telescope would be located at the Sun-Earth L2 point and would cover a spectral range that, at a minimum, runs from 0.1 to 2 microns. Unlike JWST, HDST will not need to operate at cryogenic temperatures. HDST can be made to be serviceable on orbit but does not require servicing to complete its primary scientific objectives. We present the scientific and technical requirements for HDST and show that it could allow us to determine whether or not life is common outside the Solar System. We do not propose a specific design for such a telescope, but show that designing, building and funding such a facility is feasible beginning in the next decade - if the necessary strategic investments in technology begin now.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We present comprehensive X-ray point source catalogs of NGC~55, NGC~2403, and NGC~4214 as part of the Chandra Local Volume Survey. The combined archival observations have effective exposure times of 56.5 ks, 190 ks, and 79 ks for NGC~55, NGC~2403, and NGC~4214, respectively. When combined with our published catalogs for NGC 300 and NGC 404, our survey contains 629 X-ray sources total down to a limiting unabsorbed luminosity of $\sim5\times10^{35}$ erg s$^{-1}$ in the 0.35-8 keV band in each of the five galaxies. We present X-ray hardness ratios, spectral analysis, radial source distributions, and an analysis of the temporal variability for the X-ray sources detected at high significance. To constrain the nature of each X-ray source, we carried out cross-correlations with multi-wavelength data sets. We searched overlapping Hubble Space Telescope observations for optical counterparts to our X-ray detections to provide preliminary classifications for each X-ray source as a likely X-ray binary, background AGN, supernova remnant, or foreground star.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · The Astronomical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) is an HST multi-cycle treasury program that has mapped the resolved stellar populations of ∼1/3 of the disk of M31 from the UV through the near-IR. This data provides color and luminosity information for more than 150 million stars. Using stellar evolution models, we model the optical color-magnitude diagram to derive spatially-resolved recent star formation histories (SFHs) over large areas of M31 with 100 pc resolution. These include individual star-forming regions as well as quiescent portions of the disk. With these gridded SFHs, we create movies of star formation activity to study the evolution of individual star-forming events across the disk. We analyze the structure of star formation and examine the relation between star formation and gas throughout the disk and particularly in the 10-kpc star-forming ring. We find that the ring has been continuously forming stars for at least 500 Myr. As the only large disk galaxy that is close enough to obtain the photometry for this type of spatially-resolved SFH mapping, M31 plays an important role in our understanding of the evolution of an L* galaxy.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We explore the assembly history of the M31 bulge within a projected major-axis radius of 180 arcsec (∼680 pc) by studying its stellar populations in Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys observations. Colours formed by comparing near-ultraviolet versus optical bands are found to become bluer with increasing major-axis radius, which is opposite to that predicted if the sole sources of near-ultraviolet light were old extreme horizontal branch stars with a negative radial gradient in metallicity. Spectral energy distribution fits require a metal-rich intermediate-age stellar population (300 Myr to 1 Gyr old, ∼Z⊙) in addition to the dominant old population. The radial gradients in age and metallicity of the old stellar population are consistent with those in previous works. For the intermediate-age population, we find an increase in age with radius and a mass fraction that increases up to 2 per cent at 680 pc away from the centre. We exclude contamination from the M31 disc and/or halo as the main origin for this population. Our results thus suggest that intermediate-age stars exist beyond the central 5 arcsec (19 pc) of M31 and contribute ∼1 per cent of the total stellar mass in the bulge. These stars could be related to the secular growth of the M31 bulge.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: Using Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys (HST/ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) observations from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT), we present new period-luminosity (P-L) relations for Cepheid variables in M31. Cepheids from several ground-based studies are identified in the PHAT photometry to derive new P-L and Wesenheit P-L relations in the near infrared and visual filters. We derive a distance modulus to M31 of 24.51 ± 0.08 in the IR bands and 24.32 ± 0.09 in the visual bands, including the first P-L relations in the F475W and F814W filters for M31. Our derived visual and IR distance moduli disagree at slightly more than a 1σ level. Differences in the P-L relations between ground-based and HST observations are investigated for a subset of Cepheids. We find a significant discrepancy between ground-based and HST P-L relations with the same Cepheids, suggesting adverse effects from photometric contamination in ground-based Cepheid observations. Additionally, a statistically significant radial trend in the P-L relation is found which does not appear to be explained by metallicity.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: Using Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys (HST/ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) observations from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT), we present new period-luminosity relations for Cepheid variables in M31. Cepheid from several ground-based studies are identified in the PHAT pho- tometry to derive new Period-Luminosity and Wesenheit Period-Luminosity relations in the NIR and visual filters. We derive a distance modulus to M31 of 24.51+/-0.08 in the IR bands and 24.32+/-0.09 in the visual bands, including the first PL relations in the F475W and F814W filters for M31. Our derived visual and IR distance moduli dis- agree at slightly more than a 1-{\sigma} level. Differences in the Period-Luminosity relations between ground-based and HST observations are investigated for a subset of Cepheids. We find a significant discrepancy between ground-based and HST Period-Luminosity relations with the same Cepheids, suggesting adverse effects from photometric contam- ination in ground-based Cepheid observations. Additionally, a statistically significant radial trend in the PL relation is found which does not appear to be explained by metallicity.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We measure the recent star formation history (SFH) across M31 using optical images taken with the \texit{Hubble Space Telescope} as part of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT). We fit the color-magnitude diagrams in ~9000 regions that are ~100 pc $\times$ 100 pc in projected size, covering a 0.5 square degree area (~380 kpc$^2$, deprojected) in the NE quadrant of M31. We show that the SFHs vary significantly on these small spatial scales but that there are also coherent galaxy-wide fluctuations in the SFH back to ~500 Myr, most notably in M31's 10-kpc star-forming ring. We find that the 10-kpc ring is at least 400 Myr old, showing ongoing star formation over the past ~500 Myr. This indicates the presence of molecular gas in the ring over at least 2 dynamical times at this radius. We also find that the ring's position is constant throughout this time, and is stationary at the level of 1 km/s, although there is evidence for broadening of the ring due to diffusion of stars into the disk. Based on existing models of M31's ring features, the lack of evolution in the ring's position makes a purely collisional ring origin highly unlikely. We find that the global SFR has been fairly constant over the last ~500 Myr, though it does show a small increase at 50 Myr that is 1.3 times the average SFR over the past 100 Myr. During the last ~500 Myr, ~60% of all SF occurs in the 10-kpc ring. Finally, we find that in the past 100 Myr, the average SFR over the PHAT survey area is $0.28\pm0.03$ M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$ with an average deprojected intensity of $7.3 \times 10^{-4}$ M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$ kpc$^{-2}$, which yields a total SFR of ~0.7 M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$ when extrapolated to the entire area of M31's disk. This SFR is consistent with measurements from broadband estimates. [abridged]
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We have identified a major global enhancement of star formation in the inner M31 disk that occurred between 2-4 Gyr ago, producing $\sim$60% of the stellar mass formed in the past 5 Gyr. The presence of this episode in the inner disk was discovered by modeling the optical resolved star color-magnitude diagrams of low extinction regions in the main disk of M31 (3$<$R$<$20 kpc) as part of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury. This measurement confirms and extends recent measurements of a widespread star formation enhancement of similar age in the outer disk, suggesting that this burst was both massive and global. Following the galaxy-wide burst, the star formation rate of M31 has significantly declined. We briefly discuss possible causes for these features of the M31 evolutionary history, including interactions with M32, M33 and/or a merger.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We explore the quenching of low-mass galaxies (10^4 < Mstar < 10^8 Msun) as a function of lookback time using the star formation histories (SFHs) of 38 Local Group dwarf galaxies. The SFHs were derived from analyzing color-magnitude diagrams of resolved stellar populations in archival Hubble Space Telescope/Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 imaging. We find: (1) Lower mass galaxies quench earlier than higher mass galaxies; (2) Inside of virial radius there is no correlation between a satellite's current proximity to a massive host and its quenching epoch; (3) There are hints of systematic differences in quenching times of M31 and Milky Way (MW) satellites, although the sample sample size and uncertainties in the SFHs of M31 dwarfs prohibit definitive conclusions. Combined with literature results, we qualitatively consider the redshift evolution (z=0-1) of the quenched galaxy fraction over ~7 dex in stellar mass (10^4 < Mstar < 10^11.5 Msun). The quenched fraction of all galaxies generally increases toward the present, with both the lowest and highest mass systems exhibiting the largest quenched fractions at all redshifts. In contrast, galaxies between Mstar ~ 10^8-10^10 Msun have the lowest quenched fractions. We suggest that such intermediate-mass galaxies are the least efficient at quenching. Finally, we compare our quenching times with predictions for infall times of low-mass galaxies associated with the MW. We find that some of the lowest-mass satellites (e.g., CVn II, Leo IV) may have been quenched before infall while higher mass satellites (e.g., Leo I, Fornax) typically quench ~1-4 Gyr after infall.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We have undertaken the largest systematic study of the high-mass stellar initial mass function (IMF) to date using the optical color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) of 85 resolved, young (4 Myr < t < 25 Myr), intermediate mass star clusters (10^3-10^4 Msun), observed as part of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) program. We fit each cluster's CMD to measure its mass function (MF) slope for stars >2 Msun. For the ensemble of clusters, the distribution of stellar MF slopes is best described by $\Gamma=+1.45^{+0.03}_{-0.06}$ with a very small intrinsic scatter. The data also imply no significant dependencies of the MF slope on cluster age, mass, and size, providing direct observational evidence that the measured MF represents the IMF. This analysis implies that the high-mass IMF slope in M31 clusters is universal with a slope ($\Gamma=+1.45^{+0.03}_{-0.06}$) that is steeper than the canonical Kroupa (+1.30) and Salpeter (+1.35) values. Using our inference model on select Milky Way (MW) and LMC high-mass IMF studies from the literature, we find $\Gamma_{\rm MW} \sim+1.15\pm0.1$ and $\Gamma_{\rm LMC} \sim+1.3\pm0.1$, both with intrinsic scatter of ~0.3-0.4 dex. Thus, while the high-mass IMF in the Local Group may be universal, systematics in literature IMF studies preclude any definitive conclusions; homogenous investigations of the high-mass IMF in the local universe are needed to overcome this limitation. Consequently, the present study represents the most robust measurement of the high-mass IMF slope to date. We have grafted the M31 high-mass IMF slope onto widely used sub-solar mass Kroupa and Chabrier IMFs and show that commonly used UV- and Halpha-based star formation rates should be increased by a factor of ~1.3-1.5 and the number of stars with masses >8 Msun are ~25% fewer than expected for a Salpeter/Kroupa IMF. [abridged]
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The stellar kinematics of galactic disks are key to constraining disk formation and evolution processes. In this paper, for the first time, we measure the stellar age-velocity dispersion correlation in the inner 20 kpc (3.5 disk scale lengths) of M31 and show that it is dramatically different from that in the Milky Way. We use optical Hubble Space Telescope/Advanced Camera for Surveys photometry of 5800 individual stars from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) survey and Keck/DEIMOS radial velocity measurements of the same stars from the Spectroscopic and Photometric Landscape of Andromeda's Stellar Halo (SPLASH) survey. We show that the average line-of-sight velocity dispersion is a steadily increasing function of stellar age exterior to R=10 kpc, increasing from 30 km/s for the young upper main sequence stars to 90 km/s for the old red giant branch stars. This monotonic increase implies that a continuous or recurring process contributed to the evolution of the disk. Both the slope and normalization of the dispersion vs. age relation are significantly larger than in the Milky Way, allowing for the possibility that the disk of M31 has had a more violent history than the disk of the Milky Way, more in line with cosmological predictions. We also find evidence for an inhomogeneous distribution of stars from a second kinematical component in addition to the dominant disk component. One of the largest and hottest high-dispersion patches is present in all age bins, and may be the signature of the end of the long bar.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We have analyzed new HST/ACS and HST/WFC3 imaging in F475W and F814W of two previously-unobserved fields along the M31 minor axis to confirm our previous constraints on the shape of M31's inner stellar halo. Both of these new datasets reach a depth of at least F814W$<$27 and clearly detect the blue horizontal branch (BHB) of the field as a distinct feature of the color-magnitude diagram. We measure the density of BHB stars and the ratio of BHB to red giant branch stars in each field using identical techniques to our previous work. We find excellent agreement with our previous measurement of a power-law for the 2-D projected surface density with an index of 2.6$^{+0.3}_{-0.2}$ outside of 3 kpc, which flattens to $\alpha <$1.2 inside of 3 kpc. Our findings confirm our previous suggestion that the field BHB stars in M31 are part of the halo population. However, the total halo profile is now known to differ from this BHB profile, which suggests that we have isolated the metal-poor component. This component appears to have an unbroken power-law profile from 3-150 kpc but accounts for only about half of the total halo stellar mass. Discrepancies between the BHB density profile and other measurements of the inner halo are therefore likely due to the different profile of the metal-rich halo component, which is not only steeper than the profile of the met al-poor component, but also has a larger core radius. These profile differences also help to explain the large ratio of BHB/RGB stars in our observations.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal

Publication Stats

11k Citations
1,050.65 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1999-2015
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Astronomy
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2014
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2000-2014
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2012
    • Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam
      Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany
  • 2001-2010
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Astronomy
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 2009
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 1996-2009
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
    • Carnegie Institute
      Pasadena, Texas, United States
  • 2007-2008
    • University of Chicago
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Chicago, IL, United States
  • 2006
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2003
    • Eötvös Loránd University
      • Department of Physics of Complex Systems
      Budapeŝto, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2002
    • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
      Batavia, Illinois, United States
  • 1993-1994
    • Princeton University
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States