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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
|Bimodal Galaxies and Bimodality in Globular Cluster Systems|
Various galaxy properties are not continuous over a large range in massbut rather reveal a remarkable transition or ``bimodality'' at a stellarmass of 3×1010 Msolar. These propertiesinclude colors, stellar populations, X-ray emission, and mass-to-lightratios. This behavior has been interpreted as the transition from hot tocold flows by Dekel & Birnboim. Here we explore whether globularcluster (GC) systems also reveal a bimodal nature with regard to thiscritical mass scale. Globular clusters probe star formation at earlyepochs in the universe and survive subsequent galaxy mergers andaccretions. We use new data from the ACS Virgo Cluster Survey (Peng andcoworkers), which provides a homogeneous sample of the GC systems around100 Virgo early-type galaxies covering a range of 500 in galaxy mass.Their classification of the GC color distributions is taken to examine akey quantity-the number of GCs per unit galaxy luminosity. Below thecritical mass, this quantity (called the GC specific frequency)increases dramatically in its mean value and spread. This increase maybe due to regulated star formation in low-mass galaxies, which in turnis due to mass loss via winds and the transition from hot to cold gasaccretion flows. We also note that above the critical mass, galaxiespossess two GC subpopulations (with blue and red mean colors), but belowthis mass, galaxies reveal an increasing proportion of single (blue) GCsystems.
|The Advanced Camera for Surveys Virgo Cluster Survey. V. Surface Brightness Fluctuation Calibration for Giant and Dwarf Early-Type Galaxies|
As part of the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) Virgo Cluster Survey,we have measured surface brightness fluctuations (SBFs) in a sample of100 early-type Virgo galaxies. Distances derived from these measurementsare needed to explore the three-dimensional structure of the VirgoCluster, study the intrinsic parameters of globular clusters associatedwith the program galaxies, and compare with the galaxy distances derivedfrom globular cluster luminosity functions. Our SBF measurements havebeen performed in the F850LP bandpass of the Wide Field Channel of theACS on the Hubble Space Telescope. These are the first measurements ofthis kind, and we present the first SBF calibration for this bandpass.The measured fluctuations depend on galaxy stellar populationvariations, which we quantify by galaxy color(g475-z850)0, where g475 andz850 are the galaxy magnitudes in the F475W and F850LP ACSfilters, respectively. We derive the calibration for the absolute SBFmagnitudeM850=-2.06+/-0.04+(2.0+/-0.2)[(g475-z850)0-1.3]in the range1.3<(g475-z850)0<=1.6, andM850=-2.06+/-0.04+(0.9+/-0.2)[(g475-z850)0-1.3]in the range1.0<=(g475-z850)0<=1.3. Thequoted zero-point uncertainty here includes all sources of internalerror; there is an additional systematic uncertainty of ~0.15 mag, dueto the uncertainty in the distance scale calibration. Physically, thetwo different color regimes correspond to different galaxy types: giantellipticals and S0s at the red end, and early-type dwarfs at the blueend. For the first time in SBF studies, we are able to provide a firmempirical calibration of SBF in early-type dwarf galaxies. Our resultsagree with stellar population model predictions from Bruzual &Charlot in the range1.3<(g475-z850)0<=1.6, while ourempirical slope is somewhat steeper than the theoretical prediction inthe range 0.9<=(g475-z850)0<=1.3.
|Are radio galaxies and quiescent galaxies different? Results from the analysis of HST brightness profiles|
We present a study of the optical brightness profiles of early typegalaxies, using a number of samples of radio galaxies and opticallyselected elliptical galaxies. For the radio galaxy samples - B2 ofFanaroff-Riley type I and 3C of Fanaroff-Riley type II - we determined anumber of parameters that describe a "Nuker-law" profile, which werecompared with those already known for the optically selected objects. Wefind that radio active galaxies are always of the "core" type (i.e. aninner Nuker law slope γ < 0.3). However, there are core-typegalaxies which harbor no significant radio source and which areindistinguishable from the radio active galaxies. We do not find anyradio detected galaxy with a power law profile (γ > 0.5). Thisdifference is not due to any effect with absolute magnitude, since in aregion of overlap in magnitude the dichotomy between radio active andradio quiescent galaxies remains. We speculate that core-type objectsrepresent the galaxies that have been, are, or may become, radio activeat some stage in their lives; active and non-active core-type galaxiesare therefore identical in all respects except their eventualradio-activity: on HST scales we do not find any relationship betweenboxiness and radio-activity. There is a fundamental plane, defined bythe parameters of the core (break radius rb and breakbrightness μ_b), which is seen in the strong correlation betweenrb and μ_b. The break radius is also linearly proportionalto the optical Luminosity in the I band. Moreover, for the few galaxieswith an independently measured black hole mass, the break radius turnsout to be tightly correlated with MBH. The black hole masscorrelates even better with the combination of fundamental planeparameters rb and μ_b, which represents the centralvelocity dispersion.
|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.
|A New Empirical Model for the Structural Analysis of Early-Type Galaxies, and A Critical Review of the Nuker Model|
The Nuker law was designed to match the inner few (~3-10) arcseconds ofpredominantly nearby (<~30 Mpc) early-type galaxy light profiles; itwas never intended to describe an entire profile. The Sérsicmodel, on the other hand, was developed to fit the entire profile;however, because of the presence of partially depleted galaxy cores, theSérsic model cannot always describe the very inner region. Wehave therefore developed a new empirical model consisting of an innerpower law, a transition region, and an outer Sérsic model toconnect the inner and outer structure of elliptical galaxies. We haveadditionally explored the stability of the Nuker model parameters.Surprisingly, none are found to be stable quantities; all are shown tovary systematically with a profile's fitted radial extent, and often bymore than 100%. Considering elliptical galaxies spanning a range of 7.5mag, we reveal that the central stellar densities of the underlying hostgalaxies increase with galaxy luminosity until the onset of coreformation, detected only in the brightest elliptical galaxies. Wesuggest that the so-called power-law galaxies may actually be describedby the Sérsic model over their entire radial range.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.
|The luminosity function of the Virgo Cluster from MB=-22 to -11|
We measure the galaxy luminosity function (LF) for the Virgo Clusterbetween blue magnitudes MB=-22 and -11 from wide-fieldcharge-coupled device (CCD) imaging data. The LF is only graduallyrising for -22
|Stellar populations in dwarf elliptical galaxies.|
|Ellipticals with Kinematically Distinct Cores: V-I Color Images with WFPC2|
We have analyzed Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2 F555W and F814W (i.e., Vand I) images for 15 elliptical galaxies with kinematically distinctcores. For each of them, we have derived surface brightness andisophotal parameter profiles in the two bands, color maps, and radialprofiles in V - I. Most galaxies show patchy dust absorption close totheir nuclei. However, there are generally no indications ofhomogeneous, diffuse dust components close to the nuclei. The nuclearcolors in the unobscured regions are most likely representative of thecentral stellar populations. We have detected photometric evidence forfaint stellar disks, on scales of a few tens to a few arcseconds, inseven galaxies, namely NGC 1427, 1439, 1700, 4365, 4406, 4494, and 5322.In NGC 1700, the isophotes are slightly boxy at the scale of thecounterrotating component and disky at larger radii. We find nodifference in V - I color greater than 0.02 mag between these disks andthe surrounding galactic regions. Hence, the stellar populations in thekinematically distinct cores are not strongly deviant from thepopulation of the main body. Specifically, there is no evidence for adominating population of blue, very metal weak stars as predicted bysome of the formation scenarios. This argues against models in whichsmall galaxies fall in and survive in the nuclei, unless supermassiveblack holes are present. These would likely disrupt the accreted smallsystems. For one galaxy, NGC 4365, the innermost region is bluer thanthe surrounding regions. This area extends to ~15 pc and contains aluminosity of ~2.5 x 106 Lȯ. If interpreted as a stellar populationeffect, an age difference of ~3--4 Gyr, or an [Fe/H] variation of about0.2 dex, is derived. The nuclear intensity profiles show a largevariety: some galaxies have steep cusp profiles, while others haveshallow cusps and a "break radius." The nuclear cusps of galaxies withkinematically distinct cores follow the same trends as the nuclei ofnormal galaxies. We have not been able to identify a unique, qualifyingfeature in the WFPC2 images that distinguishes the galaxies withkinematically distinct cores from the kinematically normal cores. It ispossible that statistical differences exist: possibly, the kinematicallydistinct cores have a higher fraction of nuclear disks. The similarityof both types of cores puts strong constraints on the formationscenarios. Simulations of galaxy mergers, with the inclusion of starformation and nuclear black holes, are needed to resolve the question ofhow these structures may have formed. Spectra with high spatialresolution are needed to study the nuclear structure of the distinctcomponent in detail.
|The Centers of Early-Type Galaxies with HST. IV. Central Parameter Relations.|
Abstract image available at:http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?1997AJ....114.1771F&db_key=AST
|The Centers of Early-Type Galaxies With HST. III. Non-Parametric Recovery of Stellar Luminosity Distribution|
We have non-parametrically determined the luminosity density profilesand their logarithmic slopes for 42 early-type galaxies observed withHST. Assuming that the isodensity contours are spheroidal, then theluminosity density is uniquely determined from the surface brightnessdata through the Abel equation. For nearly all the galaxies in oursample, the logarithmic slope of the luminosity density (S = d log v/dlog r) measured at 0.1" (the innermost reliable measurement with theuncorrected HST) is significantly different from zero; i.e., mostelliptical galaxies have cusps. There are only two galaxies for which ananalytic core (S approaches 0) cannot be excluded. The distribution oflogarithmic slopes at 0.1" appears to be bimodal, confirming theconclusion of Lauer et al. [AJ, 110,2622(1995)] that early-type galaxiescan be divided into two types based on their surface brightnessprofiles; i.e., those with cuspy cores and those whose steep power-lawprofiles continue essentially unchanged in to the resolution limit. Thepeaks in the slope distribution occur at S = -0.8 and - 1.9. More thanhalf of the galaxies have slopes steeper than - 1.0. Taken together withthe recent theoretical work of Merritt and Fridman, these resultssuggest that many (and maybe most) elliptical galaxies are either nearlyaxisymmetric or spherical near the center, or slowly evolve due to theinfluence of stochastic orbits.
|The Centers of Early-Type Galaxies With HST. II. Empirical Models and Structural Parameters|
We present a set of structural parameters for the central parts of 57early-type galaxies observed with the Planetary Camera of the HubbleSpace Telescope. These parameters are based on a new empirical law thatsuccessfully characterizes the centers of early-type galaxies. Thisempirical law assumes that the surface brightness profile is acombination of two power laws with different slopes γ and βfor the inner and outer regions. Conventional structural parameters suchas core radius and central surface brightness are replaced by breakradius r_b_, where the transition between power-law slopes takes place,and surface brightness μ_b_ at that radius. An additional parameterα describes the sharpness of the break. The structural parametersare derived using a X^2^ minimization process applied to the meansurface brightness profiles. The resulting model profiles generally givevery good agreement to the observed profiles out to the radius of ~10"imaged by the Planetary Camera. Exceptions include galaxies which departfrom pure power laws at large radius, those with strong nuclearcomponents, and galaxies partly obscured by dust. The uncertainties inthe derived parameters are estimated using Monte Carlo simulations whichtest the stability of solutions in the face of photon noise and theeffects of the deconvolution process. The covariance of the structuralparameters is examined by computing contours of constant X^2^ inmulti-dimensional parameter space.
|The Centers of Early-Type Galaxies with HST.I.An Observational Survey|
We have obtained V-band images of 45 nearby elliptical galaxies andbulges using the original Planetary Camera of the Hubble SpaceTelescope. The majority of the sample is at distances of 10-20 Mpc. Thisrepresents a substantial increase in the number of galaxies that havebeen studied at a resolution of a few parsecs. At this resolution, manygalaxies reveal previously unknown central disks, dust clouds, andnuclear components. We find that galaxies have two types of brightnessprofiles. The first type consists of galaxies that have cores. Thesegalaxies have brightness profiles that "break" from steep outer powerlaws to shallow inner cusps. The core class includes many galaxies thathad cores apparently resolved from the ground. The second type consistsof galaxies that have profiles that continue into the resolution limitas steep power laws, showing no evidence of cores of any sort. We thusfind that all galaxies studied so far have singular brightness profilesin the sense that I(r) ~ r^-γ^ as r - 0.1", with 0 < γ< 0.3 at the few parsec scale for galaxies with cores, and γ ~1 for power-law galaxies. No galaxies in our sample have a centralregion that is constant in surface brightness. This implies that thestellar density in these systems is still increasing steeply at the HSTresolution limit. Many galaxies reach stellar mass densities of ~5 x10^4^ M_sun_ pc^-3^ at the resolution limit, appearing similar in formto M32 at radii of a few parsecs. The core and power-law profile classescorrespond to the Jaffe et al. (AJ, 108, 1567 (1994)] Type I and IIprofiles; however, we disagree with their suggestion that the presenceof a central stellar disk is closely related to, or even determines,profile type. Power-law galaxies are seen at all ellipticities, and themajority of them show no evidence for central disks.
|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.
|The kinematics of the Virgo cluster revisited|
The paper updates the velocity data of Virgo cluster galaxies andreconsiders the kinematic structure of the Virgo cluster. New velocitiesare given for 144 galaxies listed in the Virgo Cluster Catalog (VCC).Improved velocities are given for another 131 VCC galaxies. The Virgocluster is disentangled from its surrounding clouds of galaxies, and thelikely members of each of these clouds are listed. The velocitydistribution of dwarf elliptical cluster members is found to be highlyasymmetric. This phenomenon is interpreted as evidence for the imminentmerging of two subclusters in the core region, which points to thedynamical youth of the Virgo cluster. The mean heliocentric velocity ofthe Virgo cluster is estimated at 1050 +/- 35 km/s.
|Medium-resolution spectroscopy of nucleated dwarf elliptical galaxies|
The results of medium-resolution spectroscopy of a small sample ofnucleated dwarf elliptical (dE) galaxies in the Virgo Cluster arepresented. The velocity dispersion of the dEs is as large as it is forthe dwarf irregulars and blue compact dwarfs. The velocity distributionis not similar to that which holds for the luminous Es and SOs in Virgo.A significant percentage of dEs are at quite low velocity. The Balmerline strength in the dE nuclei never exceeds 2.5 A. Overall, the spectramost closely resemble the spectra of metal-rich Galactic globularclusters with possibly an extended main sequence due to a younger meanage.
|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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