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Dynamical Models of Elliptical Galaxies in z=0.5 Clusters: II. Mass-to-Light Ratio Evolution without Fundamental Plane Assumptions

  • van der Marel, Roeland P.
  • van Dokkum, Pieter G.
Publication Date
Nov 17, 2006
Submission Date
Nov 17, 2006
DOI: 10.1086/521211
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We study M/L evolution of early-type galaxies using dynamical modeling of resolved internal kinematics. This makes fewer assumptions than Fundamental Plane (FP) studies and provides a powerful new approach for studying galaxy evolution. We focus on the sample of 25 galaxies in clusters at z=0.5 modeled in Paper I. For comparison we compile and homogenize M/L literature data for 60 nearby galaxies that were modeled in comparable detail. The nearby sample obeys log(M/L)_B = Z + S log(sigma_eff/[200 km/s]), with Z = 0.896 +/- 0.010, S = 0.992 +/- 0.054, and sigma_eff the effective velocity dispersion. The z=0.5 sample follows a similar relation but with lower zeropoint. The implied M/L evolution is Delta log(M/L) / Delta z = -0.457 +/- 0.046(random) +/- 0.078(systematic), consistent with passive evolution following high-redshift formation. This agrees with the FP results for this sample by van Dokkum & van der Marel. This confirms that FP evolution tracks M/L evolution, which is an important verification of the assumptions that underly FP studies. However, while we find more FP evolution for galaxies of low sigma_eff (or low mass), the dynamical M/L evolution instead shows little trend with sigma_eff. We argue that this difference can be plausibly attributed to a combination of two effects: (a) evolution in structural galaxy properties other than M/L; and (b) the neglect of rotational support in studies of FP evolution. The results leave the question open whether the low-mass galaxies in the sample have younger population ages than the high-mass galaxies. This highlights the general importance in the study of population ages for complementing dynamical measurements with broad-band colors or spectroscopic population diagnostics.

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