Journal article

UV-extended E-MILES stellar population models: young components in massive early-type galaxies

We present UV-extended E-MILES stellar population synthesis models covering the spectral range.. 1680-50 000 angstrom at moderately high resolution. We employ the NGSL space-based stellar library to compute spectra of single-age, single-metallicity stellar populations in the wavelength range from 1680 to 3540 angstrom. These models represent a significant improvement in resolution and age/metallicity coverage over previous studies based on earlier space-based libraries. These model spectra were joined with those we computed in the visible using MILES, and other empirical libraries for redder wavelengths. The models span the metallicity range -1.79 <= [M/H] <= +0.26 and ages above 30 Myr, for a suite of initial mass function types with varying slopes. We focus on the behaviour of colours, spectra and line-strength indices in the UV range as a function of relevant stellar population parameters. Whereas some indices strengthen with increasing age and metallicity, as most metallicity indicators in the visible, other indices peak around 3 Gyr for metal-rich stellar populations, such as Mg at 2800 angstrom. Our models provide reasonably good fits to the integrated colours and most line strengths of the stellar clusters of the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud. Our full spectrum fits in the UV range for a representative set of early-type galaxies (ETGs) of varying mass yield age and metallicity estimates in very good agreement with those obtained in the optical range. The comparison of UV colours and line strengths of massive ETGs with our models reveals the presence of young stellar components, with ages in the range 0.1-0.5 Gyr and mass fractions 0.1-0.5 per cent, on the top of an old stellar population.


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