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13th of February 2015
The Atlas3D view of massive galaxies with deep optical images
by Paolo Serra (CASS)
The outskirts of galaxies are of paramount importance for the study of galaxy evolution. They are characterised by long dynamical timescales and, therefore, retain a memory of past accretion/merging events for a long time. Unfortunately, they are also challenging to observe because of their vary faint surface brightness. In a recent paper, Duc et al. (2015; including ATNF's Paolo Serra) present the result of a large observational campaign to study the faint outskirts of early-type galaxies as part of the Atlas3D project. These spectacular images reveal a large number of new features invisible in previous images, such as blue star-forming spiral arms, shells and a large diversity of tidal tails. The animation above shows NGC 5574/76 as seen by SDSS and by the new Atlas3D images obtained using the CFHT telescope.

Credits: Pierre-Alain Duc and Atlas3D team

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