The ACS LCID project. V. The star formation history of the dwarf galaxy LGS-3: clues to cosmic reionization and feedback

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/730/1/14
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TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Astrophysical Journal
ISSN0004637X
Volume730
Issue1
Article number14
Pages14-114-14; # of pages: 14
Subjectearly universe; galaxies: dwarf; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: photometry; galaxies: stellar content; galaxies: structure
AbstractWe present an analysis of the star formation history (SFH) of the transition-type (dIrr/dSph) Local Group galaxy LGS-3 (Pisces) based on deep photometry obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the Hubble Space Telescope. Our observations reach the oldest main-sequence turnoffs at high signal to noise, allowing a time resolution at the oldest ages of sigma similar to 1.1 Gyr. Our analysis, based on three different SFH codes, shows that the SFH of LGS-3 is dominated by a main episode similar to 11.7 Gyr ago with a duration of similar to 1.4 Gyr. Subsequently, LGS-3 continued forming stars until the present, although at a much lower rate. Roughly 90% of the stars in LGS-3 were formed in the initial episode of star formation. Extensive tests of self-consistency, uniqueness, and stability of the solution have been performed together with the IAC-star/IAC-pop/MinnIAC codes, and these results are found to be independent of the photometric reduction package, the stellar evolution library, and the SFH recovery method. There is little evidence of chemical enrichment during the initial episode of star formation, after which the metallicity increased more steeply reaching a present-day value of Z similar to 0.0025. This suggests a scenario in which LGS-3 first formed stars mainly from infalling fresh gas, and after about 9 Gyr ago, from a larger fraction of recycled gas. The lack of early chemical enrichment is in contrast to that observed in the isolated dSph galaxies of comparable luminosity, implying that the dSphs were more massive and subjected to more tidal stripping. We compare the SFH of LGS-3 with expectations from cosmological models. Most or all the star formation was produced in LGS-3 after the reionization epoch, assumed to be completed at z similar to 6 or similar to 12.7 Gyr ago. The total mass of the galaxy is estimated to be between 2 and 4 x 10(8) M(circle dot) corresponding to circular velocities between 28 km s(-1) and 36 km s(-1). These values are close to but somewhat above the limit of 30 km s which the UV background is expected to prevent any star formation after reionization. Feedback from supernovae (SNe) associated with the initial episode of star formation (mechanical luminosity from SNe L(omega) = 5.3 x 10(38) erg s(-1)) is probably inadequate to completely blow away the gas. However, the combined effects of SN feedback and UV background heating might be expected to completely halt star formation at the reionization epoch for the low mass of LGS-3; this suggests that self-shielding is important to the early evolution of galaxies in this mass range.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number19727329
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Record identifier2b18c055-2c73-4d2a-bc53-d4af36f0a041
Record created2012-03-27
Record modified2016-07-18
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