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[*] Central Surface Brightness Profiles in Brightest Cluster Galaxies
Laine S., van der Marel R.P., Lauer T.R., Postman, M., O'Dea C.P., Owen F.N.
in Carnegie Observatories Astrophysics Series, Vol. 1: Coevolution of Black Holes and Galaxies, ed. L. C. Ho (Pasadena: Carnegie Observatories, http://www.ociw.edu/ociw/symposia/series/symposium1/proceedings.html), 2003

We present results from an HST WFPC2 I-band imaging study of the centers of 81 brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs). The images show a rich variety of morphological features. We were able to derive surface brightness profiles for 60 galaxies. Of those, 88% have well-resolved cores. The remaining twelve percent have ``power-law'' profiles. Therefore, the central structure of even the brightest galaxies shows a bimodality. A correlation between the power-law BCGs and the so-called alpha parameter, related to the slope of the surface brightness profile at a large radius, suggests a scenario in which elliptical galaxies evolve from power-law profiles to core profiles through accretion and merging. This is consistent with theoretical scenarios which invoke the formation of massive black hole binaries during merger events.

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Last modified March 30, 2003.
Roeland van der Marel, marel@stsci.edu.
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