The ATLAS3D project - XXVII. Cold gas and the colours and ages of early-type galaxies

L. M. Young, N. Scott, P. Serra, K. Alatalo, E. Bayet, L. Blitz, M. Bois, F. Bournaud, M. Bureau, A. F. Crocker, M. Cappellari, R. L. Davies, T. A. Davis, P. T. de Zeeuw, P.-A. Duc, E. Emsellem, S. Khochfar, D. Krajnovic, H. Kuntschner, R. M. McDermidR. Morganti, T. Naab, T. Oosterloo, M. Sarzi, A.-M. Weijmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


We present a study of the cold gas contents of the Atlas3D early-type galaxies, in the context of their optical colours, near-UV colours, and Hβ absorption line strengths. Early-type (elliptical and lenticular) galaxies are not as gas-poor as previously thought, and at least 40% of local early-type galaxies are now known to contain molecular and/or atomic gas. This cold gas offers the opportunity to study recent galaxy evolution through the processes of cold gas acquisition, consumption (star formation), and removal. Molecular and atomic gas detection rates range from 10% to 34% in red sequence early-type galaxies, depending on how the red sequence is defined, and from 50% to 70% in blue early-type galaxies. Notably, massive red sequence early-type galaxies (stellar masses > 5 x 1010sun, derived from dynamical models) are found to have HI masses up to M(HI)/Mstar ~0.06 and H2 masses up to M(H2)/Mstar ~ 0.01. Some 20% of all massive early-type galaxies may have retained atomic and/or molecular gas through their transition to the red sequence. However, kinematic and metallicity signatures of external gas accretion (either from satellite galaxies or the intergalactic medium) are also common, particularly at stellar masses

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3408-3426
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date17 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2014


  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • cD-galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: structure
  • Radio lines: glaxies


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