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2007ApJ...664..226L - Astrophys. J., 664, 226-256 (2007/July-3)

The centers of early-type galaxies with Hubble space telescope. VI. Bimodal central surface brightness profiles.


Abstract (from CDS):

We combine several HST investigations on the central structure of early-type galaxies to generate a large sample of surface photometry. The studies selected were those that used the ``Nuker law'' to characterize the inner light distributions of the galaxies. The sample comprises WFPC1 and WFPC2 V-band observations published earlier by our group, R-band WFPC2 photometry of Rest et al., NICMOS H-band photometry by Ravindranath et al. and Quillen et al., and the brightest cluster galaxy WFPC2 I-band photometry of Laine et al. The distribution of the logarithmic slopes of the central brightness profiles strongly affirms that the central structure of elliptical galaxies with MV←19 is bimodal, based on both parametric and nonparametric analysis. At the HST resolution limit, most galaxies are either power-law systems, which have steep cusps in surface brightness, or core systems, which have shallow cusps interior to a steeper envelope brightness distribution. A rapid transition between the two forms occurs over the luminosity range -22<MV←20, with cores dominating at the highest luminosities and power laws at the lowest. There are a few ``intermediate'' systems that have both cusp slopes and total luminosities that fall within the core/power-law transition, but they are rare and do not fill in the overall bimodal distribution.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxies: Nuclei - Galaxies: Photometry - Galaxies: Structure

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/ApJ/664/226): table1.dat table2.dat>

Simbad objects: 287

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