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|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.
|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.
|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.
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