Publication details

Detection of a Superluminous Spiral Galaxy in the Heart of a Massive Galaxy Cluster


BOGDÁN Ákos LOVISARI Lorenzo OGLE Patrick KOVÁCS Orsolya Eszter JARRETT Thomas JONES Christine FORMAN William R. LANZ Lauranne

Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source The Astrophysical Journal
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Brightest cluster galaxies; Giant galaxies; X-ray astronomy; Intracluster medium; High energy astrophysics; Spiral galaxies; Galaxy clusters; Galactic and extragalactic astronomy; Extragalactic astronomy
Description It is well established that brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), residing in the centers of galaxy clusters, are typically massive and quenched galaxies with cD or elliptical morphology. An optical survey suggested that an exotic galaxy population, superluminous spiral and lenticular galaxies, could be the BCGs of some galaxy clusters. Because the cluster membership and the centroid of a cluster cannot be accurately determined based solely on optical data, we followed up a sample of superluminous disk galaxies and their environments using XMM-Newton X-ray observations. Specifically, we explored seven superluminous spiral and lenticular galaxies that are candidate BCGs. We detected massive galaxy clusters around five superluminous disk galaxies and established that one superluminous spiral, 2MASX J16273931+3002239, is the central BCG of a galaxy cluster. The temperature and total mass of the cluster are ${{kT}}_{500}={3.55}_{-0.20}^{+0.18}$ keV and M500 = (2.39 ± 0.19) × 1014 M?. We identified the central galaxies of the four clusters that do not host superluminous disk galaxies at their cores, and established that the centrals are massive elliptical galaxies. However, for two of the clusters, the offset superluminous spirals are brighter than the central galaxies, implying that the superluminous disk galaxies are the brightest cluster galaxies. Our results demonstrate that superluminous disk galaxies are rarely the central systems of galaxy clusters. This is likely because galactic disks are destroyed by major mergers, which are more frequent in high-density environments. We speculate that the disks of superluminous disk galaxies in cluster cores may have been reformed due to mergers with gas-rich satellites.
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