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Title: A Photometric Study of Brightest Cluster Galaxies and Intracluster Light.
Author: Patel, Parimal
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2007
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Using deep Band r imaging of a sample of 26 clusters, we model the surface brightness of the central cD galaxies in each cluster using two-dimensional analytical fits. We find strong evidence, using X2 tests and an analysis of Petrosian profiles, for two components in the surface brightness profile and identify the outer component as being produced by unbound stars orbiting in the global cluster potential. We measure the structural properties of this intracluster light (ICL), as well as its luminosity, colour and spatial distribution and compare these with cluster masses and radii derived from existing X-ray measurements and cluster richnesses calculated from the fitting of colourmagnitude relations to the cluster galaxy population. We find that the diffuse light contributes rv 17% of the optical emission in the r band, a value much lower than suggested by current simulations. The total luminosity of the ICL correlates with cluster mass and the cluster X-ray luminosity, and the effective radius of the ICL component shows an even stronger correlation with the X-ray radius, indicating that the growth of the intracluster population is intimately linked with the growth of the cluster. We argue that tidal stripping of cluster galaxies cannot be the dominant process building up the ICL. The parameter relations seen, along with colour analyses, suggest that it is the liberation of stars from the mergers of luminous galaxies, both in the cluster and from infalling groups of galaxies, that is the main factor causing the growth of the diffuse light in clusters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available