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Structural properties of dwarf ellipticals and the connection with (ordinary) elliptical galaxies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2005

Alister W. Graham
Affiliation:
Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, Australian National University, Private Bag, Weston Creek PO, ACT 2611, Australia. email: Graham@mso.anu.edu.au
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Abstract

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This article reviews the popular reasons for the belief that dwarf elliptical galaxies and (ordinary) elliptical galaxies are distinct and separate species. They include: light–profile shape (or similarly image concentration); the magnitude–central surface brightness diagram; the magnitude–effective surface brightness diagram (or similarly the magnitude–effective radius diagram); and the Fundamental Plane. It is shown how a continuous trend between luminosity and a) light–profile shape, and b) central surface brightness (until the onest of core formation at $M_B \sim -20.5$ mag), results in a unification of the dwarf elliptical and (ordinary) elliptical galaxies. Neither the above four reasons, nor the luminosity function (at least in the Virgo cluster) provide evidence for a division at $M_B=-18$ mag between the dwarf elliptical and (ordinary) elliptical galaxies. Instead, they appear to be continuous extensions of each other.

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Copyright
© 2005 International Astronomical Union
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