SDSS-IV MaNGA: environmental dependence of gas metallicity gradients in local star-forming galaxies

Jianhui Lian, Daniel Thomas, Cheng Li, Zheng Zheng, Claudia Maraston, Dmitry Bizyaev, Richard Lane, Renbin Yan

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Abstract

Within the standard model of hierarchical galaxy formation in a Λ cold dark matter universe, the environment of galaxies is expected to play a key role in driving galaxy formation and evolution. In this paper, we investigate whether and how the gas metallicity and the star formation surface density (ΣSFR) depend on galaxy environment. To this end, we analyse a sample of 1162 local, star-forming galaxies from the galaxy survey Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO (MaNGA). Generally, both parameters do not show any significant dependence on environment. However, in agreement with previous studies, we find that low-mass satellite galaxies are an exception to this rule. The gas metallicity in these objects increases while their ΣSFR decreases slightly with environmental density. The present analysis of MaNGA data allows us to extend this to spatially resolved properties. Our study reveals that the gas metallicity gradients of low-mass satellites flatten and their ΣSFR gradients steepen with increasing environmental density. By extensively exploring a chemical evolution model, we identify two scenarios that are able to explain this pattern: metal-enriched gas accretion or pristine gas inflow with varying accretion time-scales. The latter scenario better matches the observed ΣSFR gradients, and is therefore our preferred solution. In this model, a shorter gas accretion time-scale at larger radii is required. This suggests that ‘outside–in quenching’ governs the star formation processes of low-mass satellite galaxies in dense environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1436-1450
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume489
Issue number1
Early online date16 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • astro-ph.GA
  • astro-ph.CO
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/N000668/1

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