Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 459, 759-762 (2006/12-1)
The faint end luminosity function of compact galaxy groups.
KRUSCH E., ROSENBAUM D., DETTMAR R.-J., BOMANS D.J., TAYLOR C.L., ARONICA G. and ELWERT T.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the combined Luminosity Function of five nearby Hickson Compact Groups. We identify at the faint end the dwarf galaxy group members using the red sequence of the Color Magnitude Diagram from our deep 2.2m WFI photometry of Hickson Compact Groups 16, 19, 30, 31 and 42. We find that the Luminosity Function of compact groups shows a bimodal distribution of bright galaxies and a dwarf galaxy population as it is known for galaxy clusters, but not for field galaxies. From measuring the field to field variance of background galaxies fulfilling the red sequence criterion coincidentally, a lower limit for the significance of the dwarf galaxy peak in the Luminosity Function was derived. With this method we determined the dwarf galaxy peak to have a significance of more than 2.6σ. Thus, compact groups can be classified as bound systems like galaxy clusters, which also accommodate two galaxy populations. Hence, it seems less unlikely that compact groups are chance configurations of individual galaxies. Our result shows that compact groups are building blocks of galaxy clusters underlining a hierarchical model of structure formation and galaxy evolution. Further we note that the existence of a significant number of satellites in bound systems like compact groups is predicted by ΛCold Dark Matter theory.