Structural properties of brightest cluster galaxies

Anthony H. Gonzalez, Ann I. Zabludoff, Dennis Zaritsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We present the first modern systematic study of local brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) profiles that extends to radii beyond 200h -1 kpc. Measuring the surface brightness profiles of BCGs out to large radii is critical for understanding the processes driving their formation. The form of the profiles yields information about the current dynamical state, constrains the accretion history of these galaxies, and places limits on any radially symmetric component of intracluster light. The observational challenges associated with CCD photometry at low surface brightness levels have until now precluded such an analysis for a statistical sample of BCGs. Utilizing drift-scan data and new techniques that we have developed, we extend upon previous work by modelling the profiles for a sample of 31 clusters at z ≃ 0.1 that span a wide range in mass and dynamical state. We find that the BCGs in our sample generally are best fit using two-component models consisting of inner and outer Sersic profiles. In this proceeding we present the preliminary results of our analysis and discuss implications for current models of BCG formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-71
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysics and Space Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Brightest cluster galaxies
  • Galaxy clusters
  • Galaxy formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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