to IAU
Symposium 241

Abstract details

The Stellar Populations in the Outer Banks of Massive Disk Galaxies

In recent years we have started to appreciate that the outer banks of galaxies contain valuable information about the formation process of galaxies. In hierarchical galaxy formation the stellar halos and thick disks of galaxies are formed by accretion of minor satellites, predominantly in the earlier assembly phases. The size, metallicity, and amount of substructure in current day halos are therefore directly related to issues like the small scale properties of the primordial power spectrum of density fluctuations and the suppression of star formation in small dark matter halos after reionization. I will show initial results from our ongoing HST/ACS survey of the resolved stellar populations of 14 nearby, massive disk galaxies. I will show that the smaller galaxies have no significant halo. I will present the stellar populations of a very low surface brightness stream around M83, the first such a stream resolved into stars beyond those of the Milky Way and M31. Finally, I will show that the old RGB stars of the thick disk in an edge-on galaxy truncate at the same radius as the young thin disk stars, providing insights into the formation of both disk truncations and thick disks.

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