Kinematic and metallicity properties of the Aquarius dwarf galaxy from FORS2 MXU spectroscopy
Context: Dwarf galaxies found in isolation in the Local Group (LG) are unlikely to have interacted with the large LG spirals, and therefore environmental effects such as tidal and ram-pressure stripping should not be the main drivers of their evolution.
Aims: We provide insight into the internal mechanisms shaping LG dwarf galaxies by increasing our knowledge of the internal properties of isolated systems. Here we focus on the evolved stellar component of the Aquarius dwarf galaxy, whose kinematic and metallicity properties have only recently started to be explored.
Methods: Spectroscopic data in the region of the near-infrared Ca II triplet lines has been obtained with FORS2 at the Very Large Telescope for 53 red giant branch (RGB) stars. These data are used to derive line-of-sight (l.o.s.) velocities and [Fe/H] of the individual RGB stars.
Results: We derive a systemic velocity of -142+1.8-1.8 km s−1, in agreement with previous determinations from both the HI gas and stars. The internal kinematics of Aquarius appears to be best modelled by a combination of random motions (l.o.s. velocity dispersion of -10.3+1.6-1.3 km s−1) and linear rotation (with a gradient -5.0+1.6-1.9 km s−1 arcmin−1) along a PA = 139+17-27 deg, broadly consistent with the optical projected major axis. This rotation signal is significantly misaligned or even counter-rotating to that derived from the HI gas. We also find the tentative presence of a mild negative metallicity gradient and indications that the metal-rich stars have a colder velocity dispersion than the metal-poor ones.
Conclusions: This work represents a significant improvement with respect to previous measurements of the RGB stars of Aquarius as it doubles the number of member stars already studied in the literature. We speculate that the misaligned rotation between the HI gas and evolved stellar component might have been the result of recent accretion of HI gas, or re-accretion after gas-loss due to internal stellar feedback.
Publication titleAstronomy & Astrophysics
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherE D P Sciences
Place of publication7, Ave Du Hoggar, Parc D Activites Courtaboeuf, Bp 112, Les Ulis Cedexa, France, F-91944
Rights statementCopyright ESO 2020