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Published October 10, 2015 | Published + Submitted + Erratum
Journal Article Open

The Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey. X. Properties of Ultra-Compact Dwarfs in the M87, M49 and M60 Regions


We use imaging from the Next Generation Virgo cluster Survey (NGVS) to present a comparative study of ultra-compact dwarf (UCD) galaxies associated with three prominent Virgo sub-clusters: those centered on the massive red-sequence galaxies M87, M49, and M60. We show how UCDs can be selected with high completeness using a combination of half-light radius and location in color–color diagrams (u^*iK_s or u^*gz). Although the central galaxies in each of these sub-clusters have nearly identical luminosities and stellar masses, we find large differences in the sizes of their UCD populations, with M87 containing ~3.5 and 7.8 times more UCDs than M49 and M60, respectively. The relative abundance of UCDs in the three regions scales in proportion to sub-cluster mass, as traced by X-ray gas mass, total gravitating mass, number of globular clusters (GCs), and number of nearby galaxies. We find that the UCDs are predominantly blue in color, with ~85% of the UCDs having colors similar to blue GCs and stellar nuclei of dwarf galaxies. We present evidence that UCDs surrounding M87 and M49 may follow a morphological sequence ordered by the prominence of their outer, low surface brightness envelope, ultimately merging with the sequence of nucleated low-mass galaxies, and that envelope prominence correlates with distance from either galaxy. Our analysis provides evidence that tidal stripping of nucleated galaxies is an important process in the formation of UCDs.

Additional Information

© 2015. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 April 17; accepted 2015 August 26; published 2015 October 6. The NGVS team owes a debt of gratitude to the director and the staff of the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope, whose dedication, ingenuity, and expertise have helped make the survey a reality. We thank Xiaohu Yang, Zhengyi Shao and Shiyin Shen for helpful discussions. This work is supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2015CB857002). C.L. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, Grant No. 11203017). We also thank the support of a key laboratory grant from the Office of Science and Technology, Shanghai Municipal Government (No. 11DZ2260700). E.W.P. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant No. 11173003, and from the Strategic Priority Research Program, The Emergence of Cosmological Structures, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Grant No. XDB09000105. J.C.M. is supported by the NSF through grant AST-1108964. H.X.Z. acknowledges support from China Postdoctoral Science Foundation under Grant No. 552101480582. H.X.Z. also acknowledges support from CAS-CONICYT Postdoctoral Fellowship, administered by the Chinese Academy of Sciences South America Center for Astronomy (CASSACA). A.J. acknowledges support from project IC120009 "Millennium Institute of Astrophysics (MAS)" of the Millennium Science Initiative, Chilean Ministry of Economy, and BASAL CATA PFB-06. S.M. acknowledges financial support from the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), of which she is senior member. THP acknowledges support through FONDECYT Regular Project Grant No. 1121005 and BASAL Center for Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (PFB-06). P.G. acknowledges the NSF grant AST-1010039, and support from the LAMOST-PLUS collaboration, a partnership funded by NSF grant AST-09-37523, and NSFC grants 10973015 and 11061120454. H.X. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, Grant No. 11125313). R.P.M. acknowledges support through FONDECYT Postdoctoral Fellowship project No. 3130750. T.H.P. acknowledges support in the form of the FONDECYT Regular Project grant No. 1121005 and BASAL Center for Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (PFB-06). This work is based on observations obtained with Mega- Prime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, and the University of Hawaii. This work is based in part on data products produced at Terapix available at the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre as part of the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey, a collaborative project of NRC and CNRS. This work was supported in part by the Sino-French LIA-Origins joint exchange program, by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) Grant Programme Blanc VIRAGE (ANR10-BLANC-0506-01), and by the Canadian Advanced Network for Astronomical Research (CANFAR) which has been made possible by funding from CANARIE under the Network-Enabled Platforms program. This research used the facilities of the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre operated by the National Research Council of Canada with the support of the Canadian Space Agency. The authors further acknowledge use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the HyperLeda database (http://leda.univ-lyon1.fr). This publication has made use of data products from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Funding for SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. This research uses data obtained through the Telescope Access Program (TAP), which has been funded by the National Astronomical Observatories of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (the Strategic Priority Research Program "The Emergence of Cosmological Structures" Grant No. XDB09000000), and the Special Fund for Astronomy from the Ministry of Finance. Observations reported here were obtained at the MMT Observatory, a joint facility of the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Institution. Facility: CFHT, MMT.

Attached Files

Published - Liu_2015p34.pdf

Submitted - 1508.07334v1.pdf

Erratum - Liu_2017_ApJ_836_147.pdf


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