FM07: Radial Metallicity Gradients in Star Forming Galaxies

NGC 1566 (ESA / Hubble, NASA)

At Focus Meeting 7, we’ll discuss recent and anticipated future advances in our understanding of the spatial distribution of metallicity in galaxies, including the Milky Way. Radial metallicity gradients have been successfully used to set important constraints on the chemical evolution of galaxies, but some fundamental questions are still debated, such as how gradients evolve with time, what their relationship with galaxy environment is and if there is a universal gradient or it varies with morphological type.

Current results from large galactic and extragalactic surveys have brought a wealth of new information on several aspects of gradients in star-forming galaxies. These include their shape as a function of galaxy properties, their possible bi- or multi-modality and their evolution with time. The plethora of new observational data has been interpreted with a variety of galaxy evolution models, taking into account the complexity of galactic systems.

This meeting will focus on metallicity gradients to emphasise their importance and value, both in telescopic observations and in the context of new chemodynamical evolutionary models. The proposed scientific program includes the measurement of radial metallicity gradients with a variety of probes and observational techniques, both in the Milky Way and in external galaxies, in the local and high-redshift Universe. The discussion will concentrate on the implications of radial metallicity gradients for galaxy formation and evolution.

Our list of invited speakers includes: Laura Inno (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany), Jorge Garcia Rojas (IAC/Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Tenerife, Spain), Sofia Randich (INAF/Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, Florence, Italy), Maosheng Xiang (Peking University, Beijing, China), Danielle Berg (Ohio State University, USA), Francesco Belfiore (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA), Simone Bianchi (INAF, Florence, Italy), Lisa Kewley (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia), Ivan Minchev (Leibniz-Institute for Astrophysics, Potsdam, Germany), Patricia Tissera (Universidad Andres Bello, Chile), and Jo Bovy (University of Toronto, Canada).

These speakers will cover topics as diverse as observations of metallicity gradients in the Milky Way, in the local Universe, and at intermediate and high redshift; the results of large spectroscopic surveys; the effects of galaxy interactions on radial metallicity gradients; gradients’ time evolution; the different methods used to measure metallicity and the relation between dust-to-gas and metallicity gradients.

We look forward to welcoming all FM7 participants to continue this important conversation about radial metallicity gradients and galaxy evolution!

LETIZIA STANGHELLINI, an astronomer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, is President of IAU Commission H3, Planetary Nebulae.

LAURA MAGRINI studies the chemical evolution of galaxies via nebular and stellar spectroscopy at the Observatory of Arcetri in Florence, Italy.

KATIA CUNHA works on stellar abundances and the SDSS-IV APOGEE survey at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory and the National Observatory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.