Thick disks of edge-on galaxies seen through the Spitzer survey of stellar structure in galaxies (S^4G): lair of missing baryons?



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Gil de Paz, Armando and otros, ... (2011) Thick disks of edge-on galaxies seen through the Spitzer survey of stellar structure in galaxies (S^4G): lair of missing baryons? Astrophysical journal, 741 (1). ISSN 0004-637X

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Most, if not all, disk galaxies have a thin (classical) disk and a thick disk. In most models thick disks are thought to be a necessary consequence of the disk formation and/or evolution of the galaxy. We present the results of a study of the thick disk properties in a sample of carefully selected edge-on galaxies with types ranging from T = 3 to T = 8. We fitted one-dimensional luminosity profiles with physically motivated functions—the solutions of two stellar and one gaseous isothermal coupled disks in equilibrium—which are likely to yield more accurate results than other functions used in previous studies. The images used for the fits come from the Spitzer Survey of Stellar Structure in Galaxies (S^4G). We found that thick disks are on average more massive than previously reported, mostly due to the selected fitting function. Typically, the thin and thick disks have similar masses. We also found that thick disks do not flare significantly within the observed range in galactocentric radii and that the ratio of thick-to-thin disk scale heights is higher for galaxies of earlier types. Our results tend to favor an in situ origin for most of the stars in the thick disk. In addition, the thick disk may contain a significant amount of stars coming from satellites accreted after the initial buildup of the galaxy and an extra fraction of stars coming from the secular heating of the thin disk by its own overdensities. Assigning thick disk light to the thin disk component may lead to an underestimate of the overall stellar mass in galaxies because of different mass-to-light ratios in the two disk components. On the basis of our new results, we estimate that disk stellar masses are between 10% and 50% higher than previously thought and we suggest that thick disks are a reservoir of "local missing baryons."

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© 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Artículo firmado por 24 autores. The authors thank the entire S^4G team for their efforts in this project. This work is based on observations and archival data made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. We are grateful to the dedicated staff at the Spitzer Science Center for their help and support in planning and execution of this Exploration Science program. We also gratefully acknowledge support from NASA JPL/Spitzer grant RSA 1374189 provided for the S^(4)G project.K.S., J.-C.M.M., T. Kim and T. Mizusawa acknowledge support from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. E. A. and A. B. thank the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales for financial support. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS Web site is This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Tully-Fisher relation; Dark-matter universe; Ultra deep field; Spiral galaxies; Milky-way; Galactic disks; Evolutionary sequences; Lenticular galaxies; Surface photometry; Radiative opacities
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
Sciences > Physics > Astronomy
ID Code:35307
Deposited On:28 Jan 2016 14:31
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 15:05

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