The MASSIVE survey - VIII. Stellar velocity dispersion profiles and environmental dependence of early-type galaxies

Melanie Veale, Chung Pei Ma, Jenny E. Greene, Jens Thomas, John P. Blakeslee, Jonelle L. Walsh, Jennifer Ito

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52 Scopus citations


We measure the radial profiles of the stellar velocity dispersions, σ(R), for 90 early-type galaxies (ETGs) in the MASSIVE survey, a volume-limited integral-field spectroscopic (IFS) galaxy survey targeting all northern-sky ETGs with absolute K-band magnitude MK < -25.3mag, or stellar mass M* ≳ 4 × 1011M, within 108 Mpc. Our wide-field 107 arcsec × 107 arcsec IFS data cover radii as large as 40 kpc, for which we quantify separately the inner (2 kpc) and outer (20 kpc) logarithmic slopes γ inner and γ outer of s(R). While γ inner is mostly negative, of the 56 galaxies with sufficient radial coverage to determine γ outer we find 36 per cent to have rising outer dispersion profiles, 30 per cent to be flat within the uncertainties and 34 per cent to be falling. The fraction of galaxies with rising outer profiles increases with M* and in denser galaxy environment, with 10 of the 11 most massive galaxies in our sample having flat or rising dispersion profiles. The strongest environmental correlations are with local density and halo mass, but a weaker correlation with large-scale density also exists. The average γ outer is similar for brightest group galaxies, satellites and isolated galaxies in our sample. We find a clear positive correlation between the gradients of the outer dispersion profile and the gradients of the velocity kurtosis h4. Altogether, our kinematic results suggest that the increasing fraction of rising dispersion profiles in the most massive ETGs are caused (at least in part) by variations in the total mass profiles rather than in the velocity anisotropy alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5446-5467
Number of pages22
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • CD
  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: structure


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