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Hubble Space Telescope Imaging of Brightest Cluster Galaxies
We used the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 toobtain I-band images of the centers of 81 brightest cluster galaxies(BCGs), drawn from a volume-limited sample of nearby BCGs. The imagesshow a rich variety of morphological features, including multiple ordouble nuclei, dust, stellar disks, point-source nuclei, and centralsurface brightness depressions. High-resolution surface brightnessprofiles could be inferred for 60 galaxies. Of those, 88% havewell-resolved cores. The relationship between core size and galaxyluminosity for BCGs is indistinguishable from that of Faber et al.(published in 1997, hereafter F97) for galaxies within the sameluminosity range. However, the core sizes of the most luminous BCGs fallbelow the extrapolation of the F97 relationshiprb~L1.15V. A shallower relationship,rb~L0.72V, fits both the BCGs and thecore galaxies presented in F97. Twelve percent of the BCG sample lacks awell-resolved core; all but one of these BCGs have ``power law''profiles. Some of these galaxies have higher luminosities than anypower-law galaxy identified by F97 and have physical upper limits onrb well below the values observed for core galaxies of thesame luminosity. These results support the idea that the centralstructure of early-type galaxies is bimodal in its physical propertiesbut also suggest that there exist high-luminosity galaxies withpower-law profiles (or unusually small cores). The BCGs in the lattercategory tend to fall at the low end of the BCG luminosity function andtend to have low values of the quantity α (the logarithmic slopeof the metric luminosity as a function of radius, at 10 kpc). Sincetheoretical calculations have shown that the luminosities andα-values of BCGs grow with time as a result of accretion, thissuggests a scenario in which elliptical galaxies evolve from power-lawprofiles to core profiles through accretion and merging. This isconsistent with theoretical scenarios that invoke the formation ofmassive black hole binaries during merger events. More generally, theprevalence of large cores in the great majority of BCGs, which arelikely to have experienced several generations of galaxy merging,underscores the role of a mechanism that creates and preserves cores insuch merging events.Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope,obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated bythe Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., underNASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated withproposal 8683.

Total magnitude, radius, colour indices, colour gradients and photometric type of galaxies
We present a catalogue of aperture photometry of galaxies, in UBVRI,assembled from three different origins: (i) an update of the catalogueof Buta et al. (1995) (ii) published photometric profiles and (iii)aperture photometry performed on CCD images. We explored different setsof growth curves to fit these data: (i) The Sersic law, (ii) The net ofgrowth curves used for the preparation of the RC3 and (iii) A linearinterpolation between the de Vaucouleurs (r(1/4) ) and exponential laws.Finally we adopted the latter solution. Fitting these growth curves, wederive (1) the total magnitude, (2) the effective radius, (3) the colourindices and (4) gradients and (5) the photometric type of 5169 galaxies.The photometric type is defined to statistically match the revisedmorphologic type and parametrizes the shape of the growth curve. It iscoded from -9, for very concentrated galaxies, to +10, for diffusegalaxies. Based in part on observations collected at the Haute-ProvenceObservatory.

Brightest cluster galaxies as standard candles
We investigate the use of brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) as standardcandles for measuring galaxy peculiar velocities on large scales. Wehave obtained precise large-format CCD surface photometry and redshiftsfor an all-sky, volume-limited (z less than or = 0.05) sample of 199BCG. We reinvestigate the Hoessel (1980) relationship between the metricluminosity, Lm, within the central 10 kpc/h of the BCGs andthe logarithmic slope of the surface brightness profile, alpha. TheLm-alpha relationship reduces the cosmic scatter inLm from 0.327 mag to 0.244 mag, yielding a typical distanceaccuracy of 17% per BCG. Residuals about the Lm-alpharelationship are independent of BCG luminosity, BCG B - Rccolor, BCG location within the host cluster, and richness of the hostcluster. The metric luminosity is independent of cluster richness evenbefore correcting for its dependence on alpha, which provides furtherevidence for the unique nature of the BCG luminosity function. Indeed,the BCG luminosity function, both before and after application of thealpha-correction, is consistent with a single Gaussian distribution.Half the BCGs in the sample show some evidence of small color gradientsas a function of radius within their central 50 kpc/h regions but withalmost equal numbers becoming redder as becoming bluer. However, withthe central 10 kpc/h the colors are remarkably constant -- the mean B -Rc color is 1.51 with a dispersion of only 0.06 mag. Thenarrow photometric and color distributions of the BCGs, the lack of'second-parameter' effects, as well as the unique rich clusterenvironment of BCGs, argue that BCGs are the most homogeneous distanceindicators presently available for large-scale structure research.

The Luminosity Function of Elliptical Galaxies
Abstract image available at:http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?1995AJ....110.1032M&db_key=AST

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:03h58m14.00s
Aparent dimensions:1.349′ × 1.072′

Catalogs and designations:
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NGC 2000.0NGC 1500

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