The mid-infrared view of red sequence galaxies in Abell 2218 with AKARI

Ko, Jongwan; Im, Myungshin; Lee, Hyung Mok; Lee, Myung Gyoon; Hopwood, Ros H.; Serjeant, Stephen; Smail, Ian; Hwang, Ho Seong; Hwang, Narae; Shim, Hyunjin; Kim, Seong Jin; Lee, Jong Chul; Lim, Sungsoon; Seo, Hyunjong; Goto, Tomotsugu; Hanami, Hitoshi; Matsuhara, Hideo; Takagi, Toshinobu and Wada, Takehiko (2009). The mid-infrared view of red sequence galaxies in Abell 2218 with AKARI. The Astrophysical Journal, 695, L198-L202.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/695/2/L198

Abstract

We present the AKARI Infrared Camera (IRC) imaging observation of early-type galaxies (ETGs) in A2218 at z ~ 0.175. Mid-infrared (MIR) emission from ETGs traces circumstellar dust emission from asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars or/and residual star formation. Including the unique imaging capability at 11 and 15 μm, our AKARI data provide an effective way to investigate MIR properties of ETGs in the cluster environment. Among our flux-limited sample of 22 red sequence ETGs with precise dynamical and line strength measurements (less than 18 mag at 3 μm), we find that at least 41% have MIR-excess emission. The N3 – S11 versus N3 (3 and 11 μm) color-magnitude relation shows the expected blue sequence, but the MIR-excess galaxies add a red wing to the relation especially at the fainter end. A spectral energy distribution analysis reveals that the dust emission from AGB stars is the most likely cause of the MIR excess, with a low level of star formation being the next possible explanation. The MIR-excess galaxies show a wide spread of N3 – S11 colors, implying a significant spread (2-11 Gyr) in the estimated mean ages of stellar populations. We study the environmental dependence of MIR-excess ETGs over an area out to a half virial radius (~1 Mpc). We find that the MIR-excess ETGs are preferentially located in the outer region. From this evidence, we suggest that the fainter, MIR-excess ETGs have just joined the red sequence, possibly due to the infall and subsequent morphological/spectral transformation induced by the cluster environment.

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