A comparison of surface brightness profiles for ultracompact dwarfs and dwarf elliptical nuclei: Implications for the "threshing" scenario

R De Propris*, S Phillipps, MJ Drinkwater, MD Gregg, JB Jones, E Evstigneeva, K Bekki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope, we derive surface brightness profiles for ultracompact dwarfs in the Fornax Cluster and for the nuclei of dwarf elliptical galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. Ultracompact dwarfs are more extended and have higher surface brightnesses than typical dwarf nuclei, while the luminosities, colors, and sizes of the nuclei are closer to those of Galactic globular clusters. This calls into question the production of ultracompact dwarfs via "threshing," whereby the lower surface brightness envelope of a dwarf elliptical galaxy is removed by tidal processes, leaving behind a bare nucleus. Threshing may still be a viable model if the relatively bright Fornax ultracompact dwarfs considered here are descended from dwarf elliptical galaxies whose nuclei are at the upper end of their luminosity and size distributions.

Translated title of the contributionA comparison of surface brightness profiles for ultracompact dwarfs and dwarf elliptical nuclei: implications for the "threshing" scenario
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L105-L108
Number of pages4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume623
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Other: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/ApJ/journal/issues/ApJL/v623n2/19301/brief/19301.abstract.html

Keywords

  • galaxies : dwarf
  • galaxies : star clusters
  • galaxies : structure
  • MASSIVE STAR-CLUSTERS
  • FORNAX CLUSTER
  • SPACE-TELESCOPE
  • VIRGO CLUSTER
  • COMPACT GALAXIES
  • CATALOG
  • PHOTOMETRY
  • REDSHIFT
  • SYSTEMS
  • NUMBER

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