The MASSIVE Survey. VI. the Spatial Distribution and Kinematics of Warm Ionized Gas in the Most Massive Local Early-type Galaxies

Viraj Pandya, Jenny E. Greene, Chung Pei Ma, Melanie Veale, Irina Ene, Timothy A. Davis, John P. Blakeslee, Andy D. Goulding, Nicholas J. McConnell, Kristina Nyland, Jens Thomas

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27 Scopus citations


We present the first systematic investigation of the existence, spatial distribution, and kinematics of warm ionized gas as traced by the [O ii] 3727 Å emission line in 74 of the most massive galaxies in the local universe. All of our galaxies have deep integral-field spectroscopy from the volume- and magnitude-limited MASSIVE survey of early-type galaxies with stellar mass (M K < -25.3 mag) and distance D < 108 Mpc. Of the 74 galaxies in our sample, we detect warm ionized gas in 28, which yields a global detection fraction of 38 6% down to a typical [O ii] equivalent width limit of 2 Å. MASSIVE fast rotators are more likely to have gas than MASSIVE slow rotators with detection fractions of 80 10% and 28 6%, respectively. The spatial extents span a wide range of radii (0.6-18.2 kpc; 0.1-4R e), and the gas morphologies are diverse, with 17/28 ≈ 61 9% being centrally concentrated, 8/28 ≈ 29 9% exhibiting clear rotation out to several kiloparsecs, and 3/28 ≈ 11 6% being extended but patchy. Three out of four fast rotators show kinematic alignment between the stars and gas, whereas the two slow rotators with robust kinematic measurements available exhibit kinematic misalignment. Our inferred warm ionized gas masses are roughly ∼105 M o. The emission line ratios and radial equivalent width profiles are generally consistent with excitation of the gas by the old underlying stellar population. We explore different gas origin scenarios for MASSIVE galaxies and find that a variety of physical processes are likely at play, including internal gas recycling, cooling out of the hot gaseous halo, and gas acquired via mergers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
  • ISM: lines and bands
  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics


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