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Clocking the formation of local Brightest Cluster Galaxies

Several puzzles continue to plague our understanding of the formation of Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs): 1) What can the age and metallicity of the accumulated stellar mass tell us about when, where and how BCGs are created – and can these be understood simultaneously in hierarchical galaxy formation models? 2) How does the intracluster (ICL) form? Do the stellar kinematics suggest it is a natural extension of the outer envelope of a BCG, or, is it part of the cluster? What is the role of major and minor merging? We will examine each of these questions with WIYN SparsePak IFU-like observations of a unique sample of 23 low redshift galaxy clusters. We analyze the spectra of BCG cores, and for the first time, large samples of BCG+ICL spectra. We present stellar ages, metallicity, and velocity dispersion throughout the galaxies.  These direct measures place important observational constraints for models of galaxy and cluster evolution.

Zoom

Louise Edwards, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

November 11, 2020
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm