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Astronomers have carried out a study of almost 300 hundred planetary nebulae in the supergiant elliptical galaxy Messier 87. The new research, published September 27 on the arXiv pre-print repository, reveals essential information about the galaxy's outer halo and its subcomponents.
Located some 53.5 million light years away in the constellation Virgo, Messier 87, or M87 for short (also designated NGC 4486) is one of the most massive galaxies in the local universe. Its halo extends to a radius of about 650,000 light years. Astronomers are interested in studies of outer halos of local massive galaxies as they may contain the fossil records of the accretions events in form of kinematic substructures. In giant galaxies like M87, planetary nebulae are often used to find such structures, given that they can serve as discrete tracers of kinematic decomposition.
Group - Researchers - Alessia - Longobardi - Peking
Recently, a group of researchers led by Alessia Longobardi of Peking University in Beijing, China, has conducted a kinematics study of planetary nebulae in M87 in order to identify subcomponents of the galaxy's outermost regions. Their sample includes 298 planetary nebulae.
For the research, the astronomers used Gaussian mixture modeling for statistically separating distinct velocity components and identifying the smooth halo component, its unrelaxed substructures, and the intra-cluster planetary nebulae.
Goals - Paper - PNs - Nebulae - M87
"The goals of this paper are to identify the PNs [planetary nebulae] in the smooth M87 halo, using accurate velocities and following the approach of Longobardi et al. (2015a). We work with the sample of 253 PNs...
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