The strong transformation of spiral galaxies infalling into massive clusters at z∼ 0.2

L. Cortese, D. Marcillac, J. Richard, H. Bravo-Alfaro, J. P. Kneib, G. Rieke, G. Covone, E. Egami, J. Rigby, O. Czoske, J. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the discovery of two peculiar galaxies infalling into the lensing clusters of galaxies Abell 1689 (z∼ 0.18) and 2667 (z∼ 0.23). Hubble Space Telescope images show extraordinary trails composed by blue bright knots and stellar streams associated with both these systems, an ∼L* and ∼0.1L* galaxy. Under the combined action of tidal interaction with the cluster potential and of ram pressure by the intra-cluster medium the morphologies and star formation histories of these two galaxies are strongly perturbed. While in the massive system tidal interactions are the dominant effect and are able to produce a sinking of gas towards the galaxy center triggering a strong burst of star formation and changing galaxy's morphology, in the smaller galaxy the effects of gravitation are reduced by ram pressure stripping which blows away the neutral hydrogen from the galactic disk, quenching the star formation activity and transforming a gas rich late type spiral into quiescent disk dominated early type system. This result is a new additional evidence that galaxy mass represents the main driver of galaxy evolution, even during their dive into the harsh cluster environment and can give additional insights on the origin of S0s and dwarf cluster galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS235
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Galaxies:clusters:individual:(A1689,A2667)galaxies:evolutiongalaxies: interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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