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|Hubble Space Telescope Imaging of Brightest Cluster Galaxies|
We used the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 toobtain I-band images of the centers of 81 brightest cluster galaxies(BCGs), drawn from a volume-limited sample of nearby BCGs. The imagesshow a rich variety of morphological features, including multiple ordouble nuclei, dust, stellar disks, point-source nuclei, and centralsurface brightness depressions. High-resolution surface brightnessprofiles could be inferred for 60 galaxies. Of those, 88% havewell-resolved cores. The relationship between core size and galaxyluminosity for BCGs is indistinguishable from that of Faber et al.(published in 1997, hereafter F97) for galaxies within the sameluminosity range. However, the core sizes of the most luminous BCGs fallbelow the extrapolation of the F97 relationshiprb~L1.15V. A shallower relationship,rb~L0.72V, fits both the BCGs and thecore galaxies presented in F97. Twelve percent of the BCG sample lacks awell-resolved core; all but one of these BCGs have ``power law''profiles. Some of these galaxies have higher luminosities than anypower-law galaxy identified by F97 and have physical upper limits onrb well below the values observed for core galaxies of thesame luminosity. These results support the idea that the centralstructure of early-type galaxies is bimodal in its physical propertiesbut also suggest that there exist high-luminosity galaxies withpower-law profiles (or unusually small cores). The BCGs in the lattercategory tend to fall at the low end of the BCG luminosity function andtend to have low values of the quantity α (the logarithmic slopeof the metric luminosity as a function of radius, at 10 kpc). Sincetheoretical calculations have shown that the luminosities andα-values of BCGs grow with time as a result of accretion, thissuggests a scenario in which elliptical galaxies evolve from power-lawprofiles to core profiles through accretion and merging. This isconsistent with theoretical scenarios that invoke the formation ofmassive black hole binaries during merger events. More generally, theprevalence of large cores in the great majority of BCGs, which arelikely to have experienced several generations of galaxy merging,underscores the role of a mechanism that creates and preserves cores insuch merging events.Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope,obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated bythe Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., underNASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated withproposal 8683.
|An image database. II. Catalogue between δ=-30deg and δ=70deg.|
A preliminary list of 68.040 galaxies was built from extraction of35.841 digitized images of the Palomar Sky Survey (Paper I). For eachgalaxy, the basic parameters are obtained: coordinates, diameter, axisratio, total magnitude, position angle. On this preliminary list, weapply severe selection rules to get a catalog of 28.000 galaxies, wellidentified and well documented. For each parameter, a comparison is madewith standard measurements. The accuracy of the raw photometricparameters is quite good despite of the simplicity of the method.Without any local correction, the standard error on the total magnitudeis about 0.5 magnitude up to a total magnitude of B_T_=17. Significantsecondary effects are detected concerning the magnitudes: distance toplate center effect and air-mass effect.
|Brightest cluster galaxies as standard candles|
We investigate the use of brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) as standardcandles for measuring galaxy peculiar velocities on large scales. Wehave obtained precise large-format CCD surface photometry and redshiftsfor an all-sky, volume-limited (z less than or = 0.05) sample of 199BCG. We reinvestigate the Hoessel (1980) relationship between the metricluminosity, Lm, within the central 10 kpc/h of the BCGs andthe logarithmic slope of the surface brightness profile, alpha. TheLm-alpha relationship reduces the cosmic scatter inLm from 0.327 mag to 0.244 mag, yielding a typical distanceaccuracy of 17% per BCG. Residuals about the Lm-alpharelationship are independent of BCG luminosity, BCG B - Rccolor, BCG location within the host cluster, and richness of the hostcluster. The metric luminosity is independent of cluster richness evenbefore correcting for its dependence on alpha, which provides furtherevidence for the unique nature of the BCG luminosity function. Indeed,the BCG luminosity function, both before and after application of thealpha-correction, is consistent with a single Gaussian distribution.Half the BCGs in the sample show some evidence of small color gradientsas a function of radius within their central 50 kpc/h regions but withalmost equal numbers becoming redder as becoming bluer. However, withthe central 10 kpc/h the colors are remarkably constant -- the mean B -Rc color is 1.51 with a dispersion of only 0.06 mag. Thenarrow photometric and color distributions of the BCGs, the lack of'second-parameter' effects, as well as the unique rich clusterenvironment of BCGs, argue that BCGs are the most homogeneous distanceindicators presently available for large-scale structure research.
|A redshift survey of the poor cluster A1142|
A nearly complete redshift survey of the galaxy cluster A1142 over a 2sq deg region which includes the central 0.7 Mpc of the cluster ispresented which includes 63 new redshifts. Of the 60 galaxies in theregion brighter than m(v) = 16.5, about 40 percent are either foregroundor background to the cluster. For the 35 cluster members, amass-to-light ratio of 520 solar masses/solar luminosities is derived,consistent with the results for other well-studied systems.
|A catalog of morphological types in 55 rich clusters of galaxies|
Data are presented from a study of 55 rich clusters of galaxies. Thedata include positions, morphological types, estimated total magnitudes,bulge sizes, and ellipticities for about 6000 galaxies, as determinedfrom high scale photographic plates. Data reduction procedures aredescribed, and a brief analysis of cluster richness, which indicatesthat Abell richness classes are only rough indicators of total clustermembership, is included.
|Neutral hydrogen absorption in the spectra of quasi-stellar objects - A search for absorption due to clusters of galaxies|
A search for neutral hydrogen absorption in the spectra of 17 QSOsappearing in 16 different Abell clusters of galaxies has been performedto determine whether the low-ionization absorption systems observed inQSO spectra arise in rich clusters of galaxies. Cluster redshifts arederived from optical spectra for the 11 clusters without previouslyreported redshifts. The radio observations reveal no redshifted 21-cm HI features in any of the QSO spectra, indicating that low-ionizationabsorption systems rarely, if ever, arise in rich clusters. It issuggested that if the low-ionization systems are not intrinsic to theQSOs, they arise in or near isolated galaxies or small groups. Theobservations are also used to investigate neutral hydrogen absorptionsystems in the clusters. The lack of detection is shown to support theprevious conclusion that clusters of galaxies are not gravitationallybound by optically thick clouds of neutral hydrogen.
|Catalogue no.10 of nebulae discovered at the Warner observatory.|
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