The star formation histories of quiescent ultra-diffuse galaxies and their dependence on environment and globular cluster richness

Ferré-Mateu, Anna; Gannon, Jonah S.; Forbes, Duncan A.; Buzzo, Maria Luisa; Romanowsky, Aaron J.; Brodie, Jean P.
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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We derive the stellar population parameters of 11 quiescent ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) from Keck/KCWI data. We supplement these with 14 literature UDGs, creating the largest spectroscopic sample of UDGs to date (25). We find a strong relationship between their α-enhancement and their star formation histories: UDGs that formed on very short time-scales have elevated [Mg/Fe] abundance ratios, whereas those forming over extended periods present lower values. Those forming earlier and faster are overall found in high-density environments, being mostly early infalls into the cluster. No other strong trends are found with infall times. We analyse the stellar mass-metallicity, age-metallicity, and [Mg/Fe]-metallicity relations of the UDGs, comparing them to other types of low mass galaxies. Overall, UDGs scatter around the established stellar mass-metallicity relations of classical dwarfs. We find that GC-rich UDGs have intermediate-to-old ages, but previously reported trends of galaxy metallicity and GC richness are not reproduced with this spectroscopic sample due to the existence of GC-rich UDGs with elevated metallicities. In addition, we also find that a small fraction of UDGs could be 'failed-galaxies', supported by their GC richness, high alpha-abundance, fast formation time-scales and that they follow the mass-metallicity relation of z ~2 galaxies. Finally, we also compare our observations to simulated UDGs. We caution that there is not a single simulation that can produce the diverse UDG properties simultaneously, in particular the low metallicity failed galaxy like UDGs.
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Traces of Galaxy Formation: Stellar populations, Dynamics and Morphology
We are a large, diverse, and very active research group aiming to provide a comprehensive picture for the formation of galaxies in the Universe. Rooted in detailed stellar population analysis, we are constantly exploring and developing new tools and ideas to understand how galaxies came to be what we now observe.
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