Journal Article

Implications of the remarkable homogeneity of galaxy groups and clusters

Michael L. Balogh and Sean L. McGee

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 1, pages L59-L63
Published in print February 2010 |
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1745-3933 | DOI:

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We measure the diversity of galaxy groups and clusters with mass M > 1013 h−1 M, in terms of the star formation history of their galaxy populations, for the purpose of constraining the mass scale at which environmentally important processes play a role in galaxy evolution. We consider three different group catalogues, selected in different ways, with photometry and spectroscopy from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. For each system, we measure the fraction of passively evolving galaxies within R200 and brighter than either Mr=−18 (and with z < 0.05) or Mr=−20 (and z < 0.1). We use the (ug) and (ri) galaxy colours to distinguish between star-forming and passively evolving galaxies. By considering the binomial distribution expected from the observed number of members in each cluster, we are able to either recover the intrinsic scatter in this fraction or put robust 95 per cent confidence upper limits on its value. The intrinsic standard deviation in the fraction of passive galaxies is consistent with a small value of ≲0.1 in most mass bins for all three samples. There is no strong trend with mass; even groups with M∼ 1013 h−1 M are consistent with such a small, intrinsic distribution. We compare these results with theoretical models of the accretion history to show that, if environment plays a role in transforming galaxies, such effects must occur first at mass scales far below that of rich clusters, at most M∼ 1013 M.

Keywords: galaxies: clusters: general

Journal Article.  4008 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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