Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory provides the opportunity to make precise spatially resolved measurements of the IMF slope in galaxies owing to its unique combination of spatial resolution, wavelength coverage, and sample size. We derive radial gradients in age, element abundances, and IMF slope analysing optical and near-infrared absorption features from stacked spectra out to the half-light radius of 366 early-type galaxies with masses 9.9–10.8 log M/M. We find flat gradients in age and [α/Fe] ratio, as well as negative gradients in metallicity, consistent with the literature. We further derive significant negative gradients in the [Na/Fe] ratio with galaxy centres being well enhanced in Na abundance by up to 0.5 dex. Finally, we find a gradient in IMF slope with a bottom-heavy IMF in the centre (typical mass excess factor of 1.5) and a Milky Way-type IMF at the half-light radius. This pattern is mass dependent with the lowest mass galaxies in our sample featuring only a shallow gradient around a Milky Way IMF. Our results imply the local IMF–σ relation within galaxies to be even steeper than the global relation and hint towards the local metallicity being the dominating factor behind the IMF variations. We also employ different stellar population models in our analysis and show that a radial IMF gradient is found independently of the stellar population model used. A similar analysis of the Wing-Ford band provides inconsistent results and further evidence of the difficulty in measuring and modelling this particular feature.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, v. 477, issue 3, p. 3954-3982.

This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2018 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

The copyright holders have granted the permission for posting the article here.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

TP is funded by a University of Portsmouth PhD bursary. The Science, Technology and Facilities Council is acknowledged for support through the Consolidated Grant Cosmology and Astrophysics at Portsmouth, ST/N000668/1.

Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions. SDSS-IV acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High-Performance Computing at the University of Utah. The SDSS web site is www.sdss.org.