Journal Article

Mg<sub>2</sub> gradients as a signature of brightest cluster galaxy evolution

S. I. Loubser and P. Sánchez-Blázquez

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 4, pages 3013-3020
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Mg2 gradients as a signature of brightest cluster galaxy evolution

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We have fitted the Mg2 absorption index gradients for 21 brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), in the nearby Universe, for which we have obtained high signal-to-noise ratio, long-slit spectra on the Gemini telescopes. This is a subsample of a large optical, spatially resolved, spectroscopic sample of BCGs which allows possible connections between the kinematical, dynamical and stellar population properties to be studied. We find a weak correlation between the Mg2 gradients and central velocity dispersion, with gradients becoming steeper with increasing mass. An equivalent correlation for normal ellipticals in the same mass range is not found, suggesting that the BCG stellar population profiles are shaped by mechanisms related to the potential well of the cluster where they live. This suggestion is reinforced by the existence of a correlation between the Mg2 gradients and the BCG distance to the X-ray peak luminosity of the cluster.

Keywords: galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: stellar content

Journal Article.  4969 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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