Kim, Dong-Woo, Fabbiano, Giuseppina, and Pipino, Antonio. 2012. "X-Ray Properties of Young Early-type Galaxies. II. Abundance Ratio in the Hot Interstellar Matter." The Astrophysical Journal 751:38. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/751/1/38
Using Chandra X-ray observations of young, post-merger elliptical galaxies, we present X-ray characteristics of age-related observational results by comparing them with typical old elliptical galaxies in terms of metal abundances in the hot interstellar matter (ISM). While the absolute element abundances may be uncertain because of unknown systematic errors and partly because of the smaller amount of hot gas in young ellipticals, the relative abundance ratios (e.g., the α-element to Fe ratio, and most importantly the Si/Fe ratio) can be relatively well constrained. In two young elliptical galaxies (NGC 720 and NGC 3923) we find that the Si to Fe abundance ratio is super-solar (at a 99% significance level), in contrast to typical old elliptical galaxies where the Si to Fe abundance ratio is close to solar. Also, the O/Mg ratio is close to solar in the two young elliptical galaxies, as opposed to the sub-solar O/Mg ratio reported in old elliptical galaxies. Both features appear to be less significant outside the effective radius (roughly 30'' for the galaxies under study), consistent with the observations that confine to the centermost regions the signatures of recent star formation in elliptical galaxies. Observed differences between young and old elliptical galaxies can be explained by the additional contribution from SNe II ejecta in the former. In young elliptical galaxies, the later star formation associated with recent mergers would have a dual effect, resulting both in galaxy scale winds—and therefore smaller observed amounts of hot ISM—because of the additional SN II heating, and in different metal abundances, because of the additional SN II yields.