Forming first-ranked early-type galaxies through hierarchical dissipationless merging

DOI: 
10.1093/mnras/stw1278
Publication date: 
01/09/2016
Main author: 
Solanes, José M.
IAA authors: 
Perea, Jaime D.
Authors: 
Solanes, José M.;Perea, Jaime D.;Darriba, Laura;García-Gómez, Carlos;Bosma, Albert;Athanassoula, Evangelia
Journal: 
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Refereed: 
Yes
Publication type: 
Article
Pages: 
321-343
Abstract: 
We have developed a computationally competitive N-body model of a previrialized aggregation of galaxies in a flat ΛCDM universe to assess the role of the multiple mergers that take place during the formation stage of such systems in the configuration of the remnants assembled at their centres. An analysis of a suite of 48 simulations of low-mass forming groups (M<SUB>tot, gr</SUB> ̃ 10<SUP>13</SUP> h<SUP>-1</SUP>M<SUB>☉</SUB>) demonstrates that the gravitational dynamics involved in their hierarchical collapse is capable of creating realistic first-ranked galaxies without the aid of dissipative processes. Our simulations indicate that the brightest group galaxies (BGGs) constitute a distinct population from other group members, sketching a scenario in which the assembly path of these objects is dictated largely by the formation of their host system. We detect significant differences in the distribution of Sérsic indices and total magnitudes, as well as a luminosity gap between BGGs and the next brightest galaxy that is positively correlated with the total luminosity of the parent group. Such gaps arise from both the grow of BGGs at the expense of lesser companions and the decrease in the relevance of second-ranked objects in equal measure. This results in a dearth of intermediate-mass galaxies which explains the characteristic central dip detected in their luminosity functions in dynamically young galaxy aggregations. The fact that the basic global properties of our BGGs define a thin mass fundamental plane strikingly similar to that followed giant early-type galaxies in the local universe reinforces confidence in the results obtained.
Database: 
ADS
SCOPUS
WOK
URL: 
https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/#abs/2016MNRAS.461..321S/abstract
ADS Bibcode: 
2016MNRAS.461..321S
Keywords: 
galaxies: elliptical and lenticular;cD;galaxies: formation;galaxies: fundamental parameters;galaxies: interactions;galaxies: luminosity function;mass function;methods: numerical