The fundamental plane and peculiar velocities from the 6dF galaxy survey
AffiliationScience, School of Physics
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsMagoulas, C. (2012). The fundamental plane and peculiar velocities from the 6dF galaxy survey. PhD thesis, Science, School of Physics, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
Early-type galaxies (ellipticals and lenticulars) are observed to populate the relation known as the Fundamental Plane that links their effective radius, R_e, stellar velocity dispersion, σ, and mean surface brightness, I_e. We have measured Fundamental Plane parameters in the near-infrared J, H and K passbands for ~10^4 of the brightest early-type galaxies in the 6dF Galaxy Survey (6dFGS). We improve upon previous regression techniques used to derive the Fundamental Plane by developing a robust maximum likelihood algorithm for fitting the galaxy distribution in Fundamental Plane space with a 3D Gaussian model. We exploit this large near-infrared-selected sample of galaxies to investigate trends in the Fundamental Plane with stellar population, morphology and environment. The 6dFGS galaxies exhibit clear stellar population trends in Fundamental Plane space, with age varying most strongly orthogonal to the plane. Remarkably, none of the stellar population parameters vary along the long axis of the plane, which corresponds to luminosity density. The Fundamental Plane slopes show little variation with either morphology or environment, but the Fundamental Plane size zeropoint is systematically larger for galaxies in lower density environments and for early-type spiral bulges. We speculate that age drives all the trends with residuals about the plane through its correlation with environment, morphology and metallicity. Using the Fundamental Plane, we measure distances and peculiar velocities for ~10^4 6dFGS galaxies to form the largest and most homogeneous peculiar velocity sample to date. Using a maximum-likelihood approach, we measure the overall bulk galaxy motions from the 6dFGS velocity field for the local volume of the universe, finding broad agreement with the predicted velocity field constructed from the 2MASS Redshift Survey. The local volume out to 16 120 km/s is found to have a bulk motion of 337 km/s in the direction (l,b) = (313°±9°,14°±10°), in good agreement with the results of other recent studies. A comparison of the observed and predicted fields is used to constrain parameters relating the distribution of galaxies and matter. We obtain a redshift-space distortion parameter β = 0.29±0.06 and a bias parameter for the 6dFGS velocity sample of b = 1.69±0.36. The 6dFGS velocity field provides an independent probe of cosmological parameters defining models of large-scale structure formation. Next steps include: (i) combining the 6dFGS sample in the south with the SDSS sample in the north to obtain an all-sky velocity field; (ii) deriving additional constraints on cosmological parameters from the velocity power spectrum analysis; and (iii) comparing the Fundamental Plane distances and velocities for early-type galaxies with the Tully-Fisher distances and velocities for spiral galaxies that will be obtained with the WALLABY survey on the Australian SKA Pathfinder.
Keywordsastrophysics; galaxies; early-type galaxies; elliptical and lenticular galaxies; fundamental parameters; surveys; distances and redshifts; cosmology; cosmological parameters; large-scale structure of universe
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