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Fundamental properties of elliptical galaxies

Djorgovski, S. and Davis, Marc (1987) Fundamental properties of elliptical galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 313 . pp. 59-68. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1086/164948.

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The global properties of elliptical galaxies, such as luminosity, radius, projected velocity dispersion, projected luminosity, etc., form a two-dimensional family. This 'fundamental plane' of elliptical galaxies can be defined in observable terms by the velocity dispersion and mean surface brightness. Its thickness is given by the present measurement error bars, and there are no significant indications of nonlinearity or higher dimensionality. This is indicative of a strong regularity in the process of galaxy formation. The equations of the plane can be used as new, substantially improved distance indicators for elliptical galaxies. However, all morphological parameters which describe the shape of the light distribution (ellipticity, elippticity gradient, isophotal twist rate, slope of the surface brightness profile) and reflect dynamical anisotropies of stars are completely independent of this fundamental plane. Thus, the elliptical galaxies are actually a '2 + N' parameter family. The M/L ratios correlate only with the velocity dispersions and show a small intrinsic scatter, perhaps only ~ 30 percent, in a luminosity range spanning some four orders of magnitude; this suggests a constant fraction of the dark matter contribution in elliptical galaxies.

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Djorgovski, S.0000-0002-0603-3087
Additional Information:© 1987 The American Astronomical Society. Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Received 1986 May 30; accepted 1986 July 18. Based in part on the observations done at Lick Observatory, University of California. We are indebted to the staff of Lick Observatory for their help during the surface photometry survey, on which this work is based. We acknowledge useful conversations with Sandra Faber, David Burstein, Ivan King, Simon White, Roger Davies, Alan Dressier, and many others, and the stimulating and productive atmosphere of the Hawaii Workshop of 1986. We also thank Brent Tully, the referee, for his constructive comments on the earlier version of this paper. This work was supported in part by the NSF grant AST84-19910 to M. D., and the fellowships from the University of California and Harvard University to S. D.
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NSFAST 84-19910
University of CaliforniaUNSPECIFIED
Harvard UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:cosmology—galaxies: internal motions—galaxies: photometry—galaxies: structure
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190731-160036947
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97567
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Aug 2019 17:04
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:32

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