Empirical calibration of the near-infrared CaII triplet - IV. The stellar population synthesis models



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Vazdekis, A. and Cenarro, A. J. and Gorgas García, Francisco Javier and Cardiel López, Nicolás and Peletier, R. F. (2003) Empirical calibration of the near-infrared CaII triplet - IV. The stellar population synthesis models. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 340 (4). pp. 1317-1345. ISSN 0035-8711

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.2003.06413.x


We present a new evolutionary stellar population synthesis model, which predicts spectral energy distributions for single-age single-metallicity stellar populations (SSPs) at resolution 1.5 Angstrom (FWHM) in the spectral region of the near-infrared Ca II triplet feature. The main ingredient of the model is a new extensive empirical stellar spectral library that has been recently presented by Cenarro et al., which is composed of more than 600 stars with an unprecedented coverage of the stellar atmospheric parameters. Two main products of interest for stellar population analysis are presented. The first is a spectral library for SSPs with metallicities -1.7<[Fe/H]<+0.2, a large range of ages (0.1-18 Gyr) and initial mass function (IMF) types. They are well suited to modelling galaxy data, since the SSP spectra, with flux-calibrated response curves, can be smoothed to the resolution of the observational data, taking into account the internal velocity dispersion of the galaxy, allowing the user to analyse the observed spectrum in its own system. We also produce integrated absorption-line indices (namely CaT*, CaT and PaT) for the same SSPs in the form of equivalent widths. We find the following behaviour for the Ca II triplet feature in old-aged SSPs: (i) the strength of the CaT* index does not change much with time for all metallicities for ages larger than similar to3 Gyr; (ii) this index shows a strong dependence on metallicity for values below [M/H]similar to-0.5; and (iii) for larger metallicities this feature does not show a significant dependence either on age or on the metallicity, being more sensitive to changes in the slope of power-like IMF shapes. The SSP spectra have been calibrated with measurements for globular clusters by Armandroff & Zinn, which are well reproduced, probing the validity of using the integrated Ca II triplet feature for determining the metallicities of these systems. Fitting the models to two early-type galaxies of different luminosities (NGC 4478 and 4365), we find that the Ca II triplet measurements cannot be fitted unless a very dwarf-dominated IMF is imposed, or if the Ca abundance is even lower than the Fe abundance. More details can be found in work by Cenarro et al.

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This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. © 2003 RAS. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We are indebted to the Padova group for making available their isochrones calculations.We are grateful to R. Schiavon for providing us with a set of synthetic spectra of SSPs and stars, as well as for very interesting discussions. This work was supported in part by a British Council grant within the British/Spanish Joint Research Programme (Acciones Integradas) and by the Spanish Programa Nacional de Astronomía y Astrofísica under grant no AYA2000-974. This work is based on observations at the JKT, INT and WHT on the island of La Palma operated by the Isaac Newton Group at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Early-type galaxies; Color-magnitude relation; Surface-brightness fluctuations; Active galactic nucleus; Initial mass function; Metal-poor stars; Elliptic galaxies; II triplet; Globular-clusters; Effective temperatures
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
ID Code:29706
Deposited On:23 Apr 2015 08:17
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 15:05

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