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2004ApJ...617..879L - Astrophys. J., 617, 879-895 (2004/December-3)

K-band properties of galaxy clusters and groups: brightest cluster galaxies and intracluster light.

LIN Y.-T. and MOHR J.J.

Abstract (from CDS):

We investigate the near-infrared K-band properties of the brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) in a sample of 93 X-ray galaxy clusters and groups, using data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey. Our cluster sample spans a factor of 70 in mass, making it sensitive to any cluster mass-related trends. We derive the cumulative radial distribution for the BCGs in the ensemble and find that 70% of the BCGs are centered in the cluster to within 5% of the virial radius r200; this quantifies earlier findings that BCG position coincides with the cluster center as defined by the X-ray emission peak. We study the correlations between the luminosity of the BCGs (Lb) and the mass and the luminosity of the host clusters, finding that BCGs in more massive clusters are more luminous than their counterparts in less massive systems and that the BCGs become less important in the overall cluster light (L200) as cluster mass increases. By examining a large sample of optically selected groups, we find that these correlations hold for galactic systems less massive than our clusters (<3x1013 M). From the differences between luminosity functions in high- and low-mass clusters, we argue that BCGs grow in luminosity mainly by merging with other luminous galaxies as the host clusters grow hierarchically; the decreasing BCG luminosity fraction (Lb/L200) with cluster mass indicates that the rate of luminosity growth in BCGs is slow compared to the rate at which clusters acquire galaxy light from the field or other merging clusters. Utilizing the observed correlation between the cluster luminosity and mass and a merger tree model for cluster formation, we estimate that the amount of intracluster light (ICL) increases with cluster mass; our calculations suggest that in 1015 M clusters more than 50% of total stellar mass is in ICL, making the role of ICL very important in the evolution and thermodynamic history of clusters. The cluster baryon fraction accounting for the ICL is in good agreement with the value derived from cosmic microwave background observations. The inclusion of ICL reduces the discrepancy between the observed cluster cold baryon fraction and that found in hydrodynamical simulations. Based on the observed iron abundance in the intracluster medium, we find that the ICL predicted by our model, together with the observed galaxy light, match the iron mass-to-light ratio expected from simple stellar population models, provided that the Salpeter initial mass function is adopted. The ICL also makes it easier to produce the ``iron excess'' found in the central regions of cool-core clusters.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Cosmology: Observations - Galaxies: Clusters: General - Galaxies: Elliptical and Lenticular, cD - Infrared: Galaxies

Simbad objects: 193

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