The growth of brightest cluster galaxies and intracluster light over the past 10 billion years

Tahlia DeMaio, Anthony H. Gonzalez, Ann Zabludoff, Dennis Zaritsky, Greg Aldering, Mark Brodwin, Thomas Connor, Megan Donahue, Brian Hayden, John S. Mulchaey, Saul Perlmutter, S. A. Stanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We constrain the evolution of the brightest cluster galaxy plus intracluster light (BCG + ICL) using an ensemble of 42 galaxy groups and clusters that span redshifts of z = 0.05−1.75 and masses of M500,c = 2 × 1013−1015 M☉. Specifically, we measure the relationship between the BCG + ICL stellar mass M. and M500,c at projected radii 10 < r < 100 kpc for three different epochs. At intermediate redshift (z¯ = 0.40), where we have the best data, we find M. ∝ M500,c0.48 ± 0.06. Fixing the exponent of this power law for all redshifts, we constrain the normalization of this relation to be 2.08 ± 0.21 times higher at z¯ = 0.40 than at high redshift (z¯ = 1.55). We find no change in the relation from intermediate to low redshift (z¯ = 0.10). In other words, for fixed M500c, M. at 10 < r < 100 kpc increases from z¯ = 1.55 to z¯ = 0.40 and not significantly thereafter. Theoretical models predict that the physical mass growth of the cluster from z = 1.5 to z = 0 within r500,c is 1.4×, excluding evolution due to definition of r500c. We find that M. within the central 100 kpc increases by ∼3.8× over the same period. Thus, the growth of M. in this central region is more than a factor of 2 greater than the physical mass growth of the cluster as a whole. Furthermore, the concentration of the BCG + ICL stellar mass, defined by the ratio of stellar mass within 10 kpc to the total stellar mass within 100 kpc, decreases with increasing M500,c at all z. We interpret this result as evidence for inside–out growth of the BCG + ICL over the past 10 Gyr, with stellar mass assembly occurring at larger radii at later times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3751-3759
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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