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|The Properties of Poor Groups of Galaxies. III. The Galaxy Luminosity Function|
The form of the galaxy luminosity function (GLF) in poor groups-regionsof intermediate galaxy density that are common environments forgalaxies-is not well understood. Multiobject spectroscopy and wide-fieldCCD imaging now allow us to measure the GLF of bound group membersdirectly (i.e., without statistical background subtraction) and tocompare the group GLF with the GLFs of the field and of rich clusters.We use R-band images in 1.5×1.5 degree2 mosaics toobtain photometry for galaxies in the fields of six nearby(2800=MR>-19+5logh) to giants(MR<=-19+5logh) is significantly larger for the fivegroups with luminous X-ray halos than for the one marginallyX-ray-detected group; (2) the composite GLF for the luminous X-raygroups is consistent in shape with two measures of the composite R-bandGLF for rich clusters (Trentham; Driver et al.) and flatter at the faintend than another (α~-1.5 Smith et al.); (3) the composite groupGLF rises more steeply at the faint end than the R-band GLF of the LasCampanas Redshift Survey (LCRS; α=-0.7 from Lin et al.), a largevolume survey dominated by galaxies in environments more rarefied thanluminous X-ray groups; (4) the shape difference between the LCRS fieldand composite group GLFs results mostly from the population ofnon-emission line galaxies (EW [O II]<5 Å), whosedwarf-to-giant ratio is larger in the denser group environment than inthe field (cf. Ferguson & Sandage; Bromley et al.); and (5) thenon-emission line dwarfs are more concentrated about the group centerthan the non-emission line giants, except for the central, brightest(MR
|The Properties of Poor Groups of Galaxies. I. Spectroscopic Survey and Results|
We use multifiber spectroscopy of 12 poor groups of galaxies to address(1) whether the groups are bound systems or chance projections ofgalaxies along the line of sight; (2) why the members of each group havenot already merged to form a single galaxy, despite the groups' highgalaxy densities, short crossing times, and likely environments forgalaxy-galaxy mergers; and (3) how galaxies might evolve in thesegroups, where the collisional effects of the intragroup gas and thetidal influences of the global potential are weaker than in richclusters. Each of the 12 groups has fewer than about five catalogedmembers in the literature. Our sample consists of 1002 galaxyvelocities, 280 of which are group members. The groups have meanrecessional velocities between 1600 and 7600 km s-1. Nine groups,including three Hickson compact groups, have the extended X-ray emissioncharacteristic of an intragroup medium (see Paper II). We conclude thefollowing: 1. The nine poor groups with diffuse X-ray emission are boundsystems with at least ~20-50 group members with absolute magnitudes asfaint as MB ~ -14 + 5 log10 h to -16 + 5 log10 h. The large number ofgroup members, the significant early-type population (up to ~55% of themembership) and its concentration in the group center, and thecorrespondence of the central, giant elliptical with the optical andX-ray group centroids argue that the X-ray groups are not radialsuperpositions of unbound galaxies. The velocity dispersions of theX-ray groups range from 190 to 460 km s-1. We are unable to determine ifthe three non-X-ray groups, which have lower velocity dispersions(<130 km s-1) and early-type fractions (=0%), are also bound. 2.Galaxies in each X-ray-detected group have not all merged togetherbecause a significant fraction of the group mass lies outside of thegalaxies and in a common halo. The velocity dispersion of the combinedgroup sample is constant as a function of radius out to the virialradius of the system (typically ~0.5 h-1 Mpc). The virial mass of eachgroup (~0.5-1 x 1014 h-1 Mȯ) is large compared with the mass in theX-ray gas and in the galaxies (e.g., ~1 x 1012 h-5/2 Mȯ and ~1 x1013 h-1 Mȯ, respectively, in NGC 533). These results imply thatmost of the group mass is in a common, extended halo. The small fraction(~10%-20%) of group mass associated with individual galaxies suggeststhat the rate of galaxy-galaxy interactions is lower than for agalaxy-dominated system, allowing these groups to virialize before allof their galaxies merge and to survive for more than a few crossingtimes. 3. The position of the giant, brightest elliptical in each X-raygroup is indistinguishable from the center of the group potential, asdefined by the mean velocity and the projected spatial centroid of thegroup galaxies. This result suggests that dominant cluster ellipticals,such as cD galaxies, may form via the merging of galaxies in the centersof poor group-like environments. Groups with a central, dominantelliptical may then fall into richer clusters. This scenario explainswhy cD galaxies do not always lie in the spatial and kinematic center ofrich clusters but instead occupy the centers of subclusters innonvirialized clusters. 4. The fraction of early-type galaxies in thepoor groups varies significantly, ranging from that characteristic ofthe field (<~25%) to that of rich clusters (~55%). The highearly-type fractions are particularly surprising because all of thegroups in this sample have substantially lower velocity dispersions (bya factor of ~2-5) and galaxy number densities (by a factor of ~5-20)than are typical of rich clusters. Hence, the effects of disruptivemechanisms like galaxy harassment on the morphology of poor groupgalaxies are weaker than in cluster environments. In contrast, thekinematics of poor groups make them preferred sites for galaxy-galaxymergers, which may alter the morphologies and star formation historiesof some group members. If galaxy-galaxy interactions are not responsiblefor the high early-type fractions, it is possible that the effects ofenvironment are relatively unimportant at the current epoch and that thesimilarity of the galaxy populations of rich clusters and some poorgroups reflects conditions at the time of galaxy formation. 5. Thefraction of early-type group members that have experienced starformation within the last ~2 h-1 Gyr is consistent with that in richclusters with significant substructure (~15%). If some of thesubclusters in these rich, complex clusters are groups that haverecently fallen into the cluster environment, the similarity between thestar formation histories of the early types in the subclusters and ofthose in our sample of field groups indicates that the clusterenvironment and associated mechanisms like ram pressure stripping arenot required to enhance and/or quench star formation in these particulargalaxies. If the recent star formation is tied to the externalenvironment of the galaxies and not to internal instabilities, it ismore likely that galaxy-galaxy encounters have altered the starformation histories of some early-type galaxies in groups and insubclusters.
|The Southern Sky Redshift Survey|
We report redshifts, magnitudes, and morphological classifications for5369 galaxies with m_B <= 15.5 and for 57 galaxies fainter than thislimit, in two regions covering a total of 1.70 sr in the southerncelestial hemisphere. The galaxy catalog is drawn primarily from thelist of nonstellar objects identified in the Hubble Space TelescopeGuide Star Catalog (GSC). The galaxies have positions accurate to ~1"and magnitudes with an rms scatter of ~0.3 mag. We compute magnitudes(m_SSRS2) from the relation between instrumental GSC magnitudes and thephotometry by Lauberts & Valentijn. From a comparison with CCDphotometry, we find that our system is homogeneous across the sky andcorresponds to magnitudes measured at the isophotal level ~26 magarcsec^-2. The precision of the radial velocities is ~40 km s^-1, andthe redshift survey is more than 99% complete to the m_SSRS2 = 15.5 maglimit. This sample is in the direction opposite that of the CfA2; incombination the two surveys provide an important database for studies ofthe properties of galaxies and their large-scale distribution in thenearby universe. Based on observations obtained at Cerro TololoInter-American Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatories,operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy,Inc., under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation;Complejo Astronomico El Leoncito, operated under agreement between theConsejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas de laRepública Argentina and the National Universities of La Plata,Córdoba, and San Juan; the European Southern Observatory, LaSilla, Chile, partially under the bilateral ESO-ObservatórioNacional agreement; Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory;Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica, Brazil; and the SouthAfrican Astronomical Observatory.
|A comparative study of morphological classifications of APM galaxies|
We investigate the consistency of visual morphological classificationsof galaxies by comparing classifications for 831 galaxies from sixindependent observers. The galaxies were classified on laser print copyimages or on computer screen using scans made with the Automated PlateMeasuring (APM) machine. Classifications are compared using the RevisedHubble numerical type index T. We find that individual observers agreewith one another with rms combined dispersions of between 1.3 and 2.3type units, typically about 1.8 units. The dispersions tend to decreaseslightly with increasing angular diameter and, in some cases, withincreasing axial ratio (b/a). The agreement between independentobservers is reasonably good but the scatter is non-negligible. In spiteof the scatter, the Revised Hubble T system can be used to train anautomated galaxy classifier, e.g. an artificial neural network, tohandle the large number of galaxy images that are being compiled in theAPM and other surveys.
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