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|The ACS Virgo Cluster Survey. VIII. The Nuclei of Early-Type Galaxies|
The ACS Virgo Cluster Survey is a Hubble Space Telescope program toobtain high-resolution imaging in widely separated bandpasses (F475W~gand F850LP~z) for 100 early-type members of the Virgo Cluster, spanninga range of ~460 in blue luminosity. We use this large, homogenous dataset to examine the innermost structure of these galaxies and tocharacterize the properties of their compact central nuclei. We presenta sharp upward revision in the frequency of nucleation in early-typegalaxies brighter than MB~-15 (66%<~fn<~82%)and show that ground-based surveys underestimated the number of nucleidue to surface brightness selection effects, limited sensitivity andpoor spatial resolution. We speculate that previously reported claimsthat nucleated dwarfs are more concentrated toward the center of Virgothan their nonnucleated counterparts may be an artifact of theseselection effects. There is no clear evidence from the properties of thenuclei, or from the overall incidence of nucleation, for a change atMB~-17.6, the traditional dividing point between dwarf andgiant galaxies. There does, however, appear to be a fundamentaltransition at MB~-20.5, in the sense that the brighter,``core-Sérsic'' galaxies lack resolved (stellar) nuclei. A searchfor nuclei that may be offset from the photocenters of their hostgalaxies reveals only five candidates with displacements of more than0.5", all of which are in dwarf galaxies. In each case, however, theevidence suggests that these ``nuclei'' are, in fact, globular clustersprojected close to the galaxy photocenter. Working from a sample of 51galaxies with prominent nuclei, we find a median half-light radius of=4.2 pc, with the sizes of individual nucleiranging from 62 pc down to <=2 pc (i.e., unresolved in our images) inabout a half-dozen cases. Excluding these unresolved objects, the nucleisizes are found to depend on nuclear luminosity according to therelation rh L0.50+/-0.03. Because the largemajority of nuclei are resolved, we can rule out low-level AGNs as anexplanation for the central luminosity excess in almost all cases. Onaverage, the nuclei are ~3.5 mag brighter than a typical globularcluster. Based on their broadband colors, the nuclei appear to have oldto intermediate age stellar populations. The colors of the nuclei ingalaxies fainter than MB~-17.6 are tightly correlated withtheir luminosities, and less so with the luminosities of their hostgalaxies, suggesting that their chemical enrichment histories weregoverned by local or internal factors. Comparing the nuclei to the``nuclear clusters'' found in late-type spiral galaxies reveals a closematch in terms of size, luminosity, and overall frequency. A formationmechanism that is rather insensitive to the detailed properties of thehost galaxy properties is required to explain this ubiquity andhomogeneity. The mean of the frequency function for thenucleus-to-galaxy luminosity ratio in our nucleated galaxies,=-2.49+/-0.09 dex (σ=0.59+/-0.10), isindistinguishable from that of the SBH-to-bulge mass ratio,=-2.61+/-0.07dex (σ=0.45+/-0.09), calculated in 23 early-type galaxies withdetected supermassive black holes (SBHs). We argue that the compactstellar nuclei found in many of our program galaxies are the low-masscounterparts of the SBHs detected in the bright galaxies. If thisinterpretation is correct, then one should think in terms of ``centralmassive objects''-either SBHs or compact stellar nuclei-that accompanythe formation of almost all early-type galaxies and contain a meanfraction ~0.3% of the total bulge mass. In this view, SBHs would be thedominant formation mode above MB~-20.5.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASAcontract NAS5-26555.
|The ACS Virgo Cluster Survey. IX. The Color Distributions of Globular Cluster Systems in Early-Type Galaxies|
We present the color distributions of globular cluster (GC) systems for100 early-type galaxies observed in the ACS Virgo Cluster Survey, thedeepest and most homogeneous survey of this kind to date. On average,galaxies at all luminosities in our study (-22
|Virgo Cluster Early-Type Dwarf Galaxies with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. I. On the Possible Disk Nature of Bright Early-Type Dwarfs|
We present a systematic search for disk features in 476 Virgo Clusterearly-type dwarf (dE) galaxies. This is the first such study of analmost-complete, statistically significant dE sample, which includes allcertain or possible cluster members with mB<=18 that arecovered by the optical imaging data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DataRelease 4. Disk features (spiral arms, edge-on disks, or bars) wereidentified by applying unsharp masks to a combined image from threebands (g, r, and i), as well as by subtracting the axisymmetric lightdistribution of each galaxy from that image. Fourteen objects areunambiguous identifications of disks, 10 objects show ``probable disk''features, and 17 objects show ``possible disk'' features. The numberfraction of these galaxies, for which we introduce the term ``dEdi,''reaches more than 50% at the bright end of the dE population anddecreases to less than 5% for magnitudes mB>16. Althoughpart of this observed decline might be due to the lower signal-to-noiseratio at fainter magnitudes, we show that it cannot be caused solely bythe limitations of our detection method. The luminosity function of ourfull dE sample can be explained by a superposition of dEdis and ordinarydEs, strongly suggesting that dEdis are a distinct type of galaxy. Thisis supported by the projected spatial distribution: dEdis show basicallyno clustering and roughly follow the spatial distribution of spirals andirregulars, whereas ordinary dEs are distributed similarly to thestrongly clustered E/S0 galaxies. While the flattening distribution ofordinary dEs is typical for spheroidal objects, the distribution ofdEdis is significantly different and agrees with their being flat oblateobjects. We therefore conclude that the dEdis are not spheroidalgalaxies that just have an embedded disk component but are instead apopulation of genuine disk galaxies. Several dEdis display well-definedspiral arms with grand-design features that clearly differ from theflocculent, open arms typical for late-type spirals that have frequentlybeen proposed as progenitors of dEs. This raises the question of whatprocess is able to create such spiral arms-with pitch angles like thoseof Sab/Sb galaxies-in bulgeless dwarf galaxies.
|A Comparison of Surface Brightness Profiles for Ultracompact Dwarfs and Dwarf Elliptical Nuclei: Implications for the ``Threshing'' Scenario|
Using imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope, we derive surfacebrightness profiles for ultracompact dwarfs in the Fornax Cluster andfor the nuclei of dwarf elliptical galaxies in the Virgo Cluster.Ultracompact dwarfs are more extended and have higher surfacebrightnesses than typical dwarf nuclei, while the luminosities, colors,and sizes of the nuclei are closer to those of Galactic globularclusters. This calls into question the production of ultracompact dwarfsvia ``threshing,'' whereby the lower surface brightness envelope of adwarf elliptical galaxy is removed by tidal processes, leaving behind abare nucleus. Threshing may still be a viable model if the relativelybright Fornax ultracompact dwarfs considered here are descended fromdwarf elliptical galaxies whose nuclei are at the upper end of theirluminosity and size distributions.
|The ACS Virgo Cluster Survey. II. Data Reduction Procedures|
The ACS Virgo Cluster Survey is a large program to carry out multicolorimaging of 100 early-type members of the Virgo Cluster using theAdvanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on the Hubble Space Telescope. DeepF475W and F850LP images (~SDSS g and z) are being used to study thecentral regions of the program galaxies, their globular cluster systems,and the three-dimensional structure of Virgo itself. In this paper, wedescribe in detail the data reduction procedures used for the survey,including image registration, drizzling strategies, the computation ofweight images, object detection, the identification of globular clustercandidates, and the measurement of their photometric and structuralparameters.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASAcontract NAS 5-26555.
|The ACS Virgo Cluster Survey. I. Introduction to the Survey|
The Virgo Cluster is the dominant mass concentration in the LocalSupercluster and the largest collection of elliptical and lenticulargalaxies in the nearby universe. In this paper, we present anintroduction to the ACS Virgo Cluster Survey: a program to image, in theF475W and F850LP bandpasses (~Sloan g and z), 100 early-type galaxies inthe Virgo Cluster using the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the HubbleSpace Telescope. We describe the selection of the program galaxies andtheir ensemble properties, the choice of filters, the field placementand orientation, the limiting magnitudes of the survey, coordinatedparallel observations of 100 ``intergalactic'' fields with WFPC2, andsupporting ground-based spectroscopic observations of the programgalaxies. In terms of depth, spatial resolution, sample size, andhomogeneity, this represents the most comprehensive imaging survey todate of early-type galaxies in a cluster environment. We brieflydescribe the main scientific goals of the survey, which include themeasurement of luminosities, metallicities, ages, and structuralparameters for the many thousands of globular clusters associated withthese galaxies, a high-resolution isophotal analysis of galaxiesspanning a factor of ~450 in luminosity and sharing a commonenvironment, the measurement of accurate distances for the full sampleof galaxies using the method of surface brightness fluctuations, and adetermination of the three-dimensional structure of Virgo itself.ID="FN1"> 1Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble SpaceTelescope obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which isoperated by the association of Universities for Research in Astronomy,Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.
|Stellar Populations of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies: UBVRI Photometry of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster|
We present UBVRI surface photometry for 16 dwarf elliptical galaxies inthe Virgo Cluster with previously measured kinematic properties. Theglobal optical colors are red, with median values for the sample of0.24+/-0.03 in U-B, 0.77+/-0.02 in B-V, and 1.02+/-0.03 in V-I. Werecover the well-known color-magnitude relation for cluster galaxies butfind no significant difference in dominant stellar population betweenrotating and nonrotating dwarf elliptical galaxies; the average age ofthe dominant stellar population is 5-7 Gyr in all 16 galaxies in thissample. Analysis of optical spectra confirm these age estimates andindicate Fe and Mg abundances in the range of 1/20 to one-third ofsolar, as expected for low-luminosity galaxies. Based on Lick indicesand simple stellar population models, the derived [α/Fe] ratiosare subsolar to solar, indicating a more gradual chemical enrichmenthistory for dE's as compared with giant elliptical galaxies in the VirgoCluster. These observations confirm the marked difference in stellarpopulation and stellar distribution between dwarf and giant ellipticalgalaxies and further substantiate the need for alternative evolutionaryscenarios for the lowest mass cluster galaxies. We argue that it islikely that several different physical mechanisms played a significantrole in the production of the Virgo Cluster dE galaxies including insitu formation, infall of dE's that were once part of Local Groupanalogs, and transformation of dwarf irregular galaxies by the clusterenvironment. The observations support the hypothesis that a largefraction of the Virgo Cluster dE's are formed by ram pressure strippingof gas from infalling dI's.Based on observations with the VATT: the Alice P. Lennon Telescope andthe Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility.
|Rotationally Supported Virgo Cluster Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies: Stripped Dwarf Irregular Galaxies?|
New observations of 16 dwarf elliptical galaxies (dEs) in the VirgoCluster indicate that at least seven dEs have significant velocitygradients along their optical major axis, with typical rotationamplitudes of 20-30 km s-1. Of the remaining nine galaxies inthis sample, six have velocity gradients of less than 20 kms-1 kpc-1, while the other three observations hadtoo low a signal-to-noise ratio to determine an accurate velocitygradient. Typical velocity dispersions for these galaxies are ~44+/-5 kms-1, indicating that rotation can be a significant componentof the stellar dynamics of Virgo dEs. When corrected for the limitedspatial extent of the spectral data, the rotation amplitudes of therotating dEs are comparable to those of similar-brightness dwarfirregular galaxies (dIs). Evidence of a relationship between therotation amplitude and galaxy luminosity is found and, in fact, agreeswell with the Tully-Fisher relation. The similarity in the scalingrelations of dIs and dEs implies that it is unlikely that dEs evolvefrom significantly more luminous galaxies. These observations reaffirmthe possibility that some cluster dEs may be formed when the neutralgaseous medium is stripped from dIs in the cluster environment. Wehypothesize that several different mechanisms are involved in thecreation of the overall population of dEs and that stripping ofinfalling dIs may be the dominant process in the creation of dEs inclusters like Virgo.
|The UZC-SSRS2 Group Catalog|
We apply a friends-of-friends algorithm to the combined Updated ZwickyCatalog and Southern Sky Redshift Survey to construct a catalog of 1168groups of galaxies; 411 of these groups have five or more members withinthe redshift survey. The group catalog covers 4.69 sr, and all groupsexceed the number density contrast threshold, δρ/ρ=80. Wedemonstrate that the groups catalog is homogeneous across the twounderlying redshift surveys; the catalog of groups and their membersthus provides a basis for other statistical studies of the large-scaledistribution of groups and their physical properties. The medianphysical properties of the groups are similar to those for groupsderived from independent surveys, including the ESO Key Programme andthe Las Campanas Redshift Survey. We include tables of groups and theirmembers.
|Galaxy Populations and Evolution in Clusters. I. Dynamics and the Origin of Low-Mass Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster|
Early-type dwarfs are the most common galaxy in the local universe, yettheir origin and evolution remain a mystery. Various cosmologicalscenarios predict that dwarf-like galaxies in dense areas are the firstto form and hence should be the oldest stellar systems in clusters. Byusing radial velocities of early-type dwarfs in the Virgo cluster wedemonstrate that these galaxies are not an old cluster population buthave signatures of production from the infall of field galaxies.Evidence of this includes the combined large dispersions andsubstructure in spatial and kinematic distributions for Virgo early-typedwarfs and a velocity dispersion ratio with giant ellipticals expectedfor virialized and accreted populations. We also argue that thesegalaxies cannot originate from accreted field dwarfs, but must havephysically evolved from a precursor population, of different morphology,that fell into Virgo some time in the past.
|Off-center nuclei in dwarf elliptical galaxies|
We have searched for off-center nuclei in 78 ``nucleated'' dwarfelliptical (dE,N) galaxies, drawing on digitized photographic imagesfrom a previous study of Virgo cluster dwarfs. The search is based on asimple algorithm which compares the center coordinates of a series ofouter elliptical isophotes with the position of the galaxy's nucleus.Monte Carlo simulations of the measuring procedure are used to assessrandom and systematic errors. Roughly 20% of all dwarf nuclei in thesample (neglecting uncertain cases) are found to be significantlyoff-centered. The typical displacement is 1arcsec , or 100 pc (assuminga Virgo cluster distance of 20 Mpc), corresponding to 0.5 to 1 effectiveradii of the dwarf galaxy. There is a tendency of the nuclear off-centerdisplacement to increase with decreasing surface brightness of theunderlying galaxy. A similar trend was found with normal ellipticalgalaxies before. If real, the effect could mean that a nucleus canoscillate about the galaxy center with larger amplitude in a shallower(less cuspy) gravitational potential. In an appendix we present evidencefor the existence of a strong, unambiguous relation between the nuclearmagnitude and the ellipticity of dE,N galaxies. If a nucleus iscomprising 4% or more of the total light of the underlying galaxy, thatgalaxy is nearly always round, i.e. ellipticity less than 0.15 (dE0,dE1). This effect was predicted qualitatively long ago as the result ofbox orbit disruption caused by a central massive compact object (blackhole).
|Galaxy coordinates. II. Accurate equatorial coordinates for 17298 galaxies|
Using images of the Digitized Sky Survey we measured coodinates for17298 galaxies having poorly defined coordinates. As a control, wemeasured with the same method 1522 galaxies having accurate coordinates.The comparison with our own measurements shows that the accuracy of themethod is about 6 arcsec on each axis (RA and DEC).
|Is the shape of the luminosity profile of dwarf elliptical galaxies an useful distance indicator?|
The shape of the surface brightness profile of dE galaxies, quantifiedby parameter n of Sersic's generalized profile law, has recently beenput forward as new extragalactic distance indicator (Young & Currie1994). Its application to the Virgo cluster has subsequently led to theclaim that the Virgo dEs are not lying in the cluster core but aredistributed in a prolate structure stretching from 8 to 20 Mpc distance(Young & Currie 1995). This claim is refuted here. We have fitted aSersic law to the surface brightness profiles of 128 Virgo cluster dEsand dS0s from the photometry of Binggeli & Cameron (1991). Thedispersion of the n - M relation is indeed large (sigma_rms ~ 0.9 mag).However, we argue that this scatter is not due to the depth of the Virgocluster, but is essentially intrinsic. Contrary to what one would expectfrom the cluster depth hypothesis, there is no clearvelocity-``distance'' relation for a sample of 43 Virgo dEs and dS0swith known redshifts. The analysis of Young & Currie (1995) ishampered by the use of low-resolution photometry and flawed by theassumption that the n - M and n - R relations can be used independently.By combining different Sersic law parameters, the scatter of the scalingrelations can be reduced somewhat, but never below sigma_rms ~ 0.7 mag,at least for the Virgo cluster. For the purpose of distancemeasurements, this falls short of the well-established Tully-Fisher andD_n - sigma methods, and it is comparable to what one can get alreadyfrom the < mu >_eff - M relation for dEs, which does not requireany profile modelling.
|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.
|Dwarf galaxies in the Virgo cluster. II - Photometric techniques and basic data|
Results are presented of photographic surface photometry carried out for305 (mostly dwarf) galaxies in the Virgo cluster, in which the galaxyimages were digitized on 14 of the 67 du Pont plates used for the Virgocluster survey. Azimuthally averaged surface brightness profiles areshown for all galaxies. The following model-free photometric parametersare derived and listed for each galaxy: total apparent blue magnitude,mean effective radius and surface brightness, and various isophotalradii, ellipticity, and position angle. Most galaxies were fitted by anexponential form and/or a King model profile. The best-fittingparameters, including the 'nuclear' (central residual) magnitudes fordE+dS0 galaxies, are listed.
|Dwarf galaxies in the Virgo cluster. I - The systematic photometric properties of early-type dwarfs|
The azimuthally averaged surface brightness profiles of 200 faintearly-type Virgo cluster galaxies have been analyzed. Faint dwarfs arevery well described by an exponential or a King model. The magnitudes ofthe nuclei vary greatly at a given galaxian magnitude, but the maximumnuclear luminosity is a strong function of M(T). In the 0.1-1 kpc radiusrange, the logarithmically plotted profiles of all early-type galaxiescome in two well-defined classes identified with classical types versusdwarf types. The former are all classified E or S0, while the lattercomprise all galaxies classified dE or dS0, all morphologically'intermediate' types, and even two classified 'E'. The mean SB profilesof dS0 galaxies are indistinguishable from bright dE profiles. In 2D,the dS0s appear highly flattened and/or show asymmetric and irregularfeatures which may indicate their disk nature.
|Studies of the Virgo Cluster. II - A catalog of 2096 galaxies in the Virgo Cluster area.|
The present catalog of 2096 galaxies within an area of about 140 sq degapproximately centered on the Virgo cluster should be an essentiallycomplete listing of all certain and possible cluster members,independent of morphological type. Cluster membership is essentiallydecided by galaxy morphology; for giants and the rare class of highsurface brightness dwarfs, membership rests on velocity data. While 1277of the catalog entries are considered members of the Virgo cluster, 574are possible members and 245 appear to be background Zwicky galaxies.Major-to-minor axis ratios are given for all galaxies brighter than B(T)= 18, as well as for many fainter ones.
|A catalog of dwarf galaxies in Virgo|
A catalog listing the location, apparent angular diameter, type,estimated central light concentration, and estimated brightness of 846dwarf galaxies in a 200-deg-sq region in Virgo is presented. Thegalaxies comprise 634 ellipticals, 137 IC-3475-type galaxies, 73 dwarfspirals and irregulars, and two objects which are jets of normalgalaxies, and were found on nine long-exposure IIIa-J-emulsion platesmade with the 1.2-m-Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory from 1971to 1976. Concordances to other catalogs, tables of additionalparameters, maps, graphs, and photographs are provided. The projecteddistributions of normal and dwarf galaxies and the dependence ofapparent luminosity on central light concentration are discussed. It isfound that dwarf ellipticals and IC-3475-type galaxies are probablemembers of the Virgo cluster, while dwarf spirals and possibly dwarfirregulars are not.
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