The MASSIVE Survey – V. Spatially resolved stellar angular momentum, velocity dispersion, and higher moments of the 41 most massive local early-type galaxies Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. We present spatially resolved two-dimensional stellar kinematics for the 41 most massive early-type galaxies (ETGs; MK ≲ -25.7 mag, stellar mass M* ≳ 1011.8 M⊙) of the volumelimited (D < 108 Mpc) MASSIVE survey. For each galaxy, we obtain high-quality spectra in the wavelength range of 3650-5850 Å from the 246-fibre Mitchell integral-field spectrograph at McDonald Observatory, covering a 107 arcsec×107 arcsec field of view(often reaching 2 to 3 effective radii).We measure the 2D spatial distribution of each galaxy's angular momentum (λ and fast or slow rotator status), velocity dispersion (σ), and higher order non-Gaussian velocity features (Gauss-Hermite moments h3 to h6). Our sample contains a high fraction (~80 per cent) of slow and non-rotators with λ ≲ 0.2. When combined with the lower mass ETGs in the ATLAS3D survey, we find the fraction of slow rotators to increase dramatically with galaxy mass, reaching ~50 per cent at MK ~ -25.5 mag and ~90 per cent at MK ≲ -26 mag. All of our fast rotators show a clear anticorrelation between h3 and V/σ, and the slope of the anticorrelation is steeper in more round galaxies. The radial profiles of s show a clear luminosity and environmental dependence: the 12 most luminous galaxies in our sample (MK ≲ -26 mag) are all brightest cluster/group galaxies (except NGC 4874) and all have rising or nearly flat s profiles, whereas five of the seven 'isolated' galaxies are all fainter than MK = -25.8 mag and have falling σ. All of our galaxies have positive average h4; the most luminous galaxies have average h4 ~ 0.05, while less luminous galaxies have a range of values between 0 and 0.05. Most of our galaxies show positive radial gradients in h4, and those galaxies also tend to have rising s profiles. We discuss the implications for the relationship among dynamical mass, σ, h4, and velocity anisotropy for these massive galaxies.

altmetric score

  • 5.08

author list (cited authors)

  • Veale, M., Ma, C., Thomas, J., Greene, J. E., McConnell, N. J., Walsh, J., ... Janish, R.

citation count

  • 56

publication date

  • September 2016