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 Virgo Cluster Early-Type Dwarf Galaxies with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. I. On the Possible Disk Nature of Bright Early-Type DwarfsWe present a systematic search for disk features in 476 Virgo Clusterearly-type dwarf (dE) galaxies. This is the first such study of analmost-complete, statistically significant dE sample, which includes allcertain or possible cluster members with mB<=18 that arecovered by the optical imaging data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DataRelease 4. Disk features (spiral arms, edge-on disks, or bars) wereidentified by applying unsharp masks to a combined image from threebands (g, r, and i), as well as by subtracting the axisymmetric lightdistribution of each galaxy from that image. Fourteen objects areunambiguous identifications of disks, 10 objects show probable disk''features, and 17 objects show possible disk'' features. The numberfraction of these galaxies, for which we introduce the term dEdi,''reaches more than 50% at the bright end of the dE population anddecreases to less than 5% for magnitudes mB>16. Althoughpart of this observed decline might be due to the lower signal-to-noiseratio at fainter magnitudes, we show that it cannot be caused solely bythe limitations of our detection method. The luminosity function of ourfull dE sample can be explained by a superposition of dEdis and ordinarydEs, strongly suggesting that dEdis are a distinct type of galaxy. Thisis supported by the projected spatial distribution: dEdis show basicallyno clustering and roughly follow the spatial distribution of spirals andirregulars, whereas ordinary dEs are distributed similarly to thestrongly clustered E/S0 galaxies. While the flattening distribution ofordinary dEs is typical for spheroidal objects, the distribution ofdEdis is significantly different and agrees with their being flat oblateobjects. We therefore conclude that the dEdis are not spheroidalgalaxies that just have an embedded disk component but are instead apopulation of genuine disk galaxies. Several dEdis display well-definedspiral arms with grand-design features that clearly differ from theflocculent, open arms typical for late-type spirals that have frequentlybeen proposed as progenitors of dEs. This raises the question of whatprocess is able to create such spiral arms-with pitch angles like thoseof Sab/Sb galaxies-in bulgeless dwarf galaxies. Morphological evolution of discs in clustersThe recent discovery of hidden non-axisymmetric and disc-like structuresin bright Virgo dwarf elliptical and lenticular galaxies (dE/dSph/dS0)indicates that they may have late-type progenitors. Using N-bodysimulations we follow the evolution of disc galaxies within a Λcold dark matter (ΛCDM) cluster simulated with 107particles, where the hierarchical growth and galaxy harassment aremodelled self-consistently. Most of the galaxies undergo significantmorphological transformation, even at the outskirts of the cluster, andmove through the Hubble sequence from late-type discs to dwarfspheroidals. None of the discs is completely destroyed, therefore theycannot be the progenitors of ultracompact dwarf (UCD) galaxies. The timeevolution of the simulated galaxies is compared with unsharp maskedimages obtained from Very Large Telescope (VLT) data and the projectedkinematics of our models with the latest high-resolution spectroscopicstudies from the Keck and Palomar telescopes. The relationship between the Sérsic law profiles measured along the major and minor axes of elliptical galaxiesIn this paper we discuss the reason why the parameters of theSérsic model best-fitting the major axis light profile ofelliptical galaxies can differ significantly from those derived for theminor axis profile. We show that this discrepancy is a naturalconsequence of the fact that the isophote eccentricity varies with theradius of the isophote and present a mathematical transformation thatallows the minor axis Sérsic model to be calculated from themajor axis model, provided that the elliptical isophotes are aligned andconcentric and that their eccentricity can be represented by a wellbehaved, though quite general, function of the radius. When there is novariation in eccentricity only the effective radius changes in theSérsic model, while for radial-dependent eccentricity thetransformation, which allows the minor axis Sérsic model to becalculated from the major axis model is given by the Lerch Φtranscendental function. The proposed transformation was tested usingphotometric data for 28 early-type galaxies. Stellar Populations of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies: UBVRI Photometry of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies in the Virgo ClusterWe present UBVRI surface photometry for 16 dwarf elliptical galaxies inthe Virgo Cluster with previously measured kinematic properties. Theglobal optical colors are red, with median values for the sample of0.24+/-0.03 in U-B, 0.77+/-0.02 in B-V, and 1.02+/-0.03 in V-I. Werecover the well-known color-magnitude relation for cluster galaxies butfind no significant difference in dominant stellar population betweenrotating and nonrotating dwarf elliptical galaxies; the average age ofthe dominant stellar population is 5-7 Gyr in all 16 galaxies in thissample. Analysis of optical spectra confirm these age estimates andindicate Fe and Mg abundances in the range of 1/20 to one-third ofsolar, as expected for low-luminosity galaxies. Based on Lick indicesand simple stellar population models, the derived [α/Fe] ratiosare subsolar to solar, indicating a more gradual chemical enrichmenthistory for dE's as compared with giant elliptical galaxies in the VirgoCluster. These observations confirm the marked difference in stellarpopulation and stellar distribution between dwarf and giant ellipticalgalaxies and further substantiate the need for alternative evolutionaryscenarios for the lowest mass cluster galaxies. We argue that it islikely that several different physical mechanisms played a significantrole in the production of the Virgo Cluster dE galaxies including insitu formation, infall of dE's that were once part of Local Groupanalogs, and transformation of dwarf irregular galaxies by the clusterenvironment. The observations support the hypothesis that a largefraction of the Virgo Cluster dE's are formed by ram pressure strippingof gas from infalling dI's.Based on observations with the VATT: the Alice P. Lennon Telescope andthe Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility. Rotationally Supported Virgo Cluster Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies: Stripped Dwarf Irregular Galaxies?New observations of 16 dwarf elliptical galaxies (dEs) in the VirgoCluster indicate that at least seven dEs have significant velocitygradients along their optical major axis, with typical rotationamplitudes of 20-30 km s-1. Of the remaining nine galaxies inthis sample, six have velocity gradients of less than 20 kms-1 kpc-1, while the other three observations hadtoo low a signal-to-noise ratio to determine an accurate velocitygradient. Typical velocity dispersions for these galaxies are ~44+/-5 kms-1, indicating that rotation can be a significant componentof the stellar dynamics of Virgo dEs. When corrected for the limitedspatial extent of the spectral data, the rotation amplitudes of therotating dEs are comparable to those of similar-brightness dwarfirregular galaxies (dIs). Evidence of a relationship between therotation amplitude and galaxy luminosity is found and, in fact, agreeswell with the Tully-Fisher relation. The similarity in the scalingrelations of dIs and dEs implies that it is unlikely that dEs evolvefrom significantly more luminous galaxies. These observations reaffirmthe possibility that some cluster dEs may be formed when the neutralgaseous medium is stripped from dIs in the cluster environment. Wehypothesize that several different mechanisms are involved in thecreation of the overall population of dEs and that stripping ofinfalling dIs may be the dominant process in the creation of dEs inclusters like Virgo. Distances, Metallicities, and Ages of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster from Surface Brightness FluctuationsWe have employed FORS1 and 2 at the Very Large Telescope at the EuropeanSouthern Observatory (ESO) to acquire deep B and R-band CCD images of 16dwarf elliptical (dE) galaxies in the direction of the Virgo cluster.For each dwarf, we measure the apparent R-band surface brightnessfluctuation (SBF) magnitude mR and the (B-R)0color in a number of fields at different galactocentric distances. Fromthe field-to-field variation of the two quantities, we determine the SBFdistance by means of the (B-R)0-MR relation. Thederived distances of the dwarfs range from 14.9 to 21.3 Mpc, with a mean1 σ uncertainty of 1.4 Mpc or 8% of the distance, which confirmsthat there is considerable depth in the distance distribution ofearly-type cluster members. For VCC 1104 (IC 3388), our SBF distancemodulus of (m-M)SBF=31.15+/-0.19 (17.0+/-1.5 Mpc) is in goodagreement with the Harris et al result of(m-M)TRGB=30.98+/-0.19 mag (15.7+/-1.5 Mpc) based on HubbleSpace Telescope (HST) observations and the tip magnitude of the redgiant branch. Combining our results with existing distances for giantVirgo ellipticals, we identify two major galaxy concentrations in thedistance distribution: a broad primary clump around (M-m)=31.0 mag (15.8Mpc) and a narrow secondary clump around 31.33 mag (18.5 Mpc). Anadaptive kernel analysis finds the two concentrations to be significantat the 99% (2.5 σ) and 89% (1.6 σ) levels, respectively.While the near-side clump of Virgo early-type galaxies can be associatedwith the subcluster centered on M87, the second clump is believed to bemainly due to the far side infalling group of galaxies around M86. Theages and metallicities of the dE stellar populations are estimated bycombining the observed (B-R)0 colors with Worthey's stellarpopulation synthesis models. It appears that the Virgo dE galaxies covera wider range in metallicity, from [Fe/H]~-1.4 (VCC 0815) to -0.5 (NGC4415), than Fornax cluster dEs. The derived metallicities place theVirgo dEs on the extension of the metallicity-luminosity relationdefined by the low-luminosity Local Group dEs. The data further suggestan age range from genuinely old (~17 Gyr) stellar systems such as IC3019 and IC 0783 to intermediate-age (8-12 Gyr) dwarfs such as NGC 4431and IC 3468. Properties of isolated disk galaxiesWe present a new sample of northern isolated galaxies, which are definedby the physical criterion that they were not affected by other galaxiesin their evolution during the last few Gyr. To find them we used thelogarithmic ratio, f, between inner and tidal forces acting upon thecandidate galaxy by a possible perturber. The analysis of thedistribution of the f-values for the galaxies in the Coma cluster leadus to adopt the criterion f ≤ -4.5 for isolated galaxies. Thecandidates were chosen from the CfA catalog of galaxies within thevolume defined by cz ≤5000 km s-1, galactic latitudehigher than 40o and declination ≥-2.5o. Theselection of the sample, based on redshift values (when available),magnitudes and sizes of the candidate galaxies and possible perturberspresent in the same field is discussed. The final list of selectedisolated galaxies includes 203 objects from the initial 1706. The listcontains only truly isolated galaxies in the sense defined, but it is byno means complete, since all the galaxies with possible companions underthe f-criterion but with unknown redshift were discarded. We alsoselected a sample of perturbed galaxies comprised of all the diskgalaxies from the initial list with companions (with known redshift)satisfying f ≥ -2 and \Delta(cz) ≤500 km s-1; a totalof 130 objects. The statistical comparison of both samples showssignificant differences in morphology, sizes, masses, luminosities andcolor indices. Confirming previous results, we found that late spiral,Sc-type galaxies are, in particular, more frequent among isolatedgalaxies, whereas Lenticular galaxies are more abundant among perturbedgalaxies. Isolated systems appear to be smaller, less luminous and bluerthan interacting objects. We also found that bars are twice as frequentamong perturbed galaxies compared to isolated galaxies, in particularfor early Spirals and Lenticulars. The perturbed galaxies have higherLFIR/LB and Mmol/LB ratios,but the atomic gas content is similar for the two samples. The analysisof the luminosity-size and mass-luminosity relations shows similartrends for both families, the main difference being the almost totalabsence of big, bright and massive galaxies among the family of isolatedsystems, together with the almost total absence of small, faint and lowmass galaxies among the perturbed systems. All these aspects indicatethat the evolution induced by interactions with neighbors would proceedfrom late, small, faint and low mass Spirals to earlier, bigger, moreluminous and more massive spiral and lenticular galaxies, producing atthe same time a larger fraction of barred galaxies but preserving thesame relations between global parameters. The properties we found forour sample of isolated galaxies appear similar to those of high redshiftgalaxies, suggesting that the present-day isolated galaxies could bequietly evolved, unused building blocks surviving in low densityenvironments.Tables \ref{t1} and \ref{t2} are only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.org Spectrophotometry of galaxies in the Virgo cluster. II. The dataDrift-scan mode (3600-6800 Å) spectra with 500 Galaxy Populations and Evolution in Clusters. IV. Deep H I Observations of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies in the Virgo ClusterIn this paper we present deep Arecibo H I and WIYN optical observationsof Virgo Cluster dwarf elliptical galaxies. Based on this data we arguethat a significant fraction of low-mass galaxies in the Virgo Clusterrecently underwent evolution. Our new observations consist of H I 21 cmline observations for 22 classified dE galaxies with optical radialvelocities consistent with membership in the Virgo Cluster. Clustermembers VCC 390 and VCC 1713 are detected with H I massesMHI=6×107 and 8×107Msolar, respectively, while MHI values in theremaining 20 dE galaxies have upper limits as low as~5×105 Msolar. We combine our results withthose for 26 other Virgo Cluster dE galaxies with H I observations inthe literature, seven of which have H I detection claims. New opticalimages from the WIYN telescope of five of these H I-detected dEgalaxies, along with archival data, suggest that seven of the claimeddetections are true H I detections, yielding a ~15% detection rate.These H I-detected, classified dE galaxies are preferentially locatednear the periphery of the Virgo Cluster. Three Virgo dE galaxies haveobserved H I velocity widths greater than 200 km s-1,possibly indicating the presence of a large dark matter content ortransient extended H I. We discuss the possible origins of these objectsand argue that they originate from field galaxies accreted onto highangular momentum orbits by Virgo in the last few Gyr. As a result ofthis, we argue, these galaxies are slowly transformed within the clusterby gradual gas-stripping processes, associated truncation of starformation, and passive fading of stellar populations. Low-mass,early-type cluster galaxies are therefore currently being produced asthe product of cluster environmental effects. We utilize our results ina simple model to estimate the recent (past 1-3 Gyr) average massaccretion rate into the Virgo Cluster, deriving a value of M~50Msolar yr-1. Internal Dynamics, Structure, and Formation of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies. II. Rotating versus Nonrotating DwarfsWe present spatially resolved internal kinematics and stellar chemicalabundances for a sample of dwarf elliptical (dE) galaxies in the VirgoCluster observed with the Keck telescope and Echelle Spectrograph andImager. In combination with previous measurements, we find that four outof 17 dE's have major-axis rotation velocities consistent withrotational flattening, while the remaining dE's have no detectablemajor-axis rotation. Despite this difference in internal kinematics,rotating and nonrotating dE's are remarkably similar in terms of theirposition in the fundamental plane, morphological details, stellarpopulations, and local environment. We present evidence for (or confirmthe presence of) faint underlying disks and/or weak substructure in afraction of both rotating and nonrotating dE's, but a comparable numberof counterexamples exist for both types that show no evidence of suchstructure. Absorption line strengths were determined based on theLick/IDS system (Hβ, Mg b, Fe5270, and Fe5335) for the centralregion of each galaxy. We find no difference in the line-strengthindices, and hence stellar populations, between rotating and nonrotatingdE galaxies. The best-fitting mean age and metallicity for our same of17 dE's are 5 Gyr and [Fe/H]=-0.3 dex, respectively, with rms spreads of3 Gyr and 0.1 dex. The majority of dE's are consistent with solar[α/Fe] abundance ratios. By contrast, the stellar populations ofclassical elliptical galaxies are, on average, older, more metal-rich,and α-enhanced relative to our dE sample. The line strengths ofour dE's are consistent with the extrapolation of the line strengthversus velocity dispersion trend seen in classical elliptical galaxies.Finally, the local environments of both rotating and nonrotating dE'sappear to be diverse in terms of their proximity to larger galaxies inreal or velocity space within the Virgo Cluster. Thus, rotating andnonrotating dE's are remarkably similar in terms of their structure,stellar content, and local environments, presenting a significantchallenge to theoretical models of their formation.Data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, whichis operated as a scientific partnership among the California Instituteof Technology, the University of California, and the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possibleby the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Companions of Bright Barred Shapley-Ames GalaxiesCompanion galaxy environment for a subset of 78 bright and nearby barredgalaxies from the Shapley-Ames Catalog is presented. Among the spiralbarred galaxies, there are Seyfert galaxies, galaxies with circumnuclearstructures, galaxies not associated with any large-scale galaxy cloudstructure, galaxies with peculiar disk morphology (crooked arms), andgalaxies with normal disk morphology; the list includes all Hubbletypes. The companion galaxy list includes the number of companiongalaxies within 20 diameters, their Hubble type, and projectedseparation distance. In addition, the companion environment was searchedfor four known active spiral galaxies, three of them are Seyfertgalaxies, namely, NGC 1068, NGC 1097, and NGC 5548, and one is astarburst galaxy, M82. Among the results obtained, it is noted that theonly spiral barred galaxy classified as Seyfert 1 in our list has nocompanions within a projected distance of 20 diameters; six out of 10Seyfert 2 bar galaxies have no companions within 10 diameters, six outof 10 Seyfert 2 galaxies have one or more companions at projectedseparation distances between 10 and 20 diameters; six out of 12 galaxieswith circumnuclear structures have two or more companions within 20diameters. Star Formation Histories of Early-Type Galaxies. I. Higher Order Balmer Lines as Age IndicatorsWe have obtained blue integrated spectra of 175 nearby early-typegalaxies, covering a wide range in galaxy velocity dispersion andemphasizing those with σ<100 km s-1. Galaxies havebeen observed both in the Virgo Cluster and in lower densityenvironments. The main goals are the evaluation of higher order Balmerlines as age indicators and differences in stellar populations as afunction of mass, environment, and morphology. In this first paper, ouremphasis is on presenting the methods used to characterize the behaviorof the Balmer lines through evolutionary population synthesis models.Lower σ galaxies exhibit a substantially greater intrinsicscatter, in a variety of line-strength indicators, than do higherσ galaxies, with the large intrinsic scatter setting in below aσ of 100 km s-1. Moreover, a greater contrast inscatter is present in the Balmer lines than in the lines of metalfeatures. Evolutionary synthesis modeling of the observed spectralindexes indicates that the strong Balmer lines found primarily among thelow-σ galaxies are caused by young age, rather than by lowmetallicity. Thus we find a trend between the population age and thecentral velocity dispersion, such that low-σ galaxies have youngerluminosity-weighted mean ages. We have repeated this analysis usingseveral different Balmer lines and find consistent results from onespectral indicator to another. VLT surface photometry and isophotal analysis of early-type dwarf galaxies in the Virgo clusterWe have carried out surface photometry and an isophotal analysis for asample of 25 early-type dwarf (dE and dS0) galaxies in the Virgo clusterbased on CCD images taken at the VLT with FORS1 and FORS2. For eachgalaxy we present B and R-band surface brightness profiles, as well asthe radial colour (B-R) profile. We give total apparent BR magnitudes,effective radii, effective surface brightnesses and total colourindices. The light profiles have been fitted with Sérsic modelsand the corresponding parameters are compared to the ones for otherclasses of objects. In general, dEs and dS0s bridge the gap in parameterspace between the giant ellipticals and the low-luminosity dwarfspheroidals in the Local Group, in accordance with previous findings.However, the observed profiles of the brightest cluster dwarfs showsignificant deviations from a simple Sérsic model, indicatingthat there is more inner structure than just a nucleus. This picture isreinforced by our isophotal analysis where complex radial dependenciesof ellipticity, position angle, and isophotal shape parameter a_4 areexhibited not only by objects like IC 3328, for which the presence of adisk component has been confirmed, but by many apparently normal dEs aswell. In addition, we find a relation between the effective surfacebrightness, at a given luminosity, and the strength of the offset of thegalaxy's nucleus with respect to the center of the isophotes. Dwarfswith large nuclear offsets also tend to have stronger isophotal twists.However, such twists are preferentially found in apparently round(epsilon < 0.3) galaxies and are always accompanied by significantradial changes of the ellipticity, which clearly points to a projectioneffect. In sum, our findings suggest the presence of substructure inmost, and preferentially in the less compact, bright early-type dwarfs.The physical (dynamical) meaning of this has yet to be explored.Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory(ESO 63.O-0055 and 65.N-0062).Figure \ref{fig1} is only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.org A search for Low Surface Brightness galaxies in the near-infrared. I. Selection of the sampleA sample of about 3800 Low Surface Brightness (LSB) galaxies wasselected using the all-sky near-infrared (J, H and Ks-band)2MASS survey. The selected objects have a mean central surfacebrightness within a 5'' radius around their centre fainter than 18 magarcsec-2 in the Ks band, making them the lowestsurface brightness galaxies detected by 2MASS. A description is given ofthe relevant properties of the 2MASS survey and the LSB galaxy selectionprocedure, as well as of basic photometric properties of the selectedobjects. The latter properties are compared to those of other samples ofgalaxies, of both LSBs and classical'' high surface brightness (HSB)objects, which were selected in the optical. The 2MASS LSBs have aBT_c-KT colour which is on average 0.9 mag bluerthan that of HSBs from the NGC. The 2MASS sample does not appear tocontain a significant population of red objects.All tables and Figs. 2a-c are only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.org New clues to the evolution of dwarf early-type galaxiesSurface photometry of 18 Virgo cluster dwarf elliptical (dE) and dwarflenticular (dS0) galaxies, made by Gavazzi et al. in the H band(1.65μm) and in the B band (0.44μm), shows that the ratio of theeffective radii of these stellar systems in the B and H bands, r eB /r eH , ranges between 0.7 and 2.2. In particular,dwarf ellipticals and lenticulars with a red total colour index B -H(i.e. with 3.2 The UZC-SSRS2 Group CatalogWe apply a friends-of-friends algorithm to the combined Updated ZwickyCatalog and Southern Sky Redshift Survey to construct a catalog of 1168groups of galaxies; 411 of these groups have five or more members withinthe redshift survey. The group catalog covers 4.69 sr, and all groupsexceed the number density contrast threshold, δρ/ρ=80. Wedemonstrate that the groups catalog is homogeneous across the twounderlying redshift surveys; the catalog of groups and their membersthus provides a basis for other statistical studies of the large-scaledistribution of groups and their physical properties. The medianphysical properties of the groups are similar to those for groupsderived from independent surveys, including the ESO Key Programme andthe Las Campanas Redshift Survey. We include tables of groups and theirmembers. More evidence for hidden spiral and bar features in bright early-type dwarf galaxiesFollowing the discovery of spiral structure in IC 3328 (Jerjen et al.\cite{Jerjen2000}), we present further evidence that a sizable fractionof bright early-type dwarfs in the Virgo cluster are genuine diskgalaxies, or are hosting a disk component. Among a sample of 23nucleated dwarf ellipticals and dS0s observed with the Very LargeTelescope in B and R, we found another four systems exhibitingnon-axisymmetric structures, such as a bar and/or spiral arms,indicative of a disk (IC 0783, IC 3349, NGC 4431, IC 3468). Particularlyremarkable are the two-armed spiral pattern in IC 0783 and the bar andtrailing arms in NGC 4431. For both galaxies the disk nature hasrecently been confirmed by a rotation velocity measurement (Simien &Prugniel \cite{Simien2002}). Our photometric search is based on aFourier decomposition method and a specific version of unsharp masking.Some early-type'' dwarfs in the Virgo cluster seem to be formerlate-type galaxies which were transformed to early-type morphology, e.g.by harassment'', during their infall to the cluster, while maintainingpart of their disk structure. Based on observations collected at theEuropean Southern Observatory, Chile. Kinematical data on early-type galaxies. VI.We present the result of spectroscopic observations of a sample of 73galaxies, completing the database published in this series of articles.The sample contains mostly low-luminosity early-type objects, includingfour dwarfs of the Local Group (in particular, deep spectra of NGC 205),15 dEs or dS0s in the Virgo cluster, and UGC 05442, a spheroidal dwarfof the M 81 group. We have measured the central velocity dispersion forall but one object, and determined the major-axis rotation andvelocity-dispersion profiles for 59 objects. For the current sample ofdiffuse (or dwarf) elliptical galaxies, we have compared stellarrotation to velocity dispersion; the analysis suggests that theseobjects may be nearly rotationally flattened, and therefore thatanisotropy may be less important than previously thought. Based onobservations collected at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence. Table 1 isalso, and Tables 2 and 4 only, available in electronic form at the CDSvia anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/384/371 Total Magnitudes of Virgo Galaxies. I. Construction of a Self-Consistent Reference Dataset Spanning 8th to 18th MagnitudeThe main objectives of this series of papers are: (1) to demonstrate theexistence of serious mutual disagreements between established total (andother integrated) magnitude scales for Virgo galaxies; (2) to attempt toquantify both the systematic and random errors present within thesemagnitude scales; (3) to investigate the origins of any large erroruncovered; and thereby (4) to encourage the general adoption of rigoroustotal-magnitude measurement procedures by the astronomical community.The ramifications of the findings presented in this series of paperswill be discussed in detail at a later date. In this paper, the first inthe series, a self-consistent dataset of trustworthy total-magnitudemeasurements is compiled for a sample of Virgo galaxies spanning a rangeof 10 000 in apparent brightness, based on only the most reliablemeasurements and photometry currently available. This reference dataset,which includes luminosity profile shape information, will be used insubsequent papers as one of the bases for assessing existing magnitudescales for Virgo galaxies. As most published magnitudes are based onB-band observations, this series of papers will also focus primarily onB-band measurements. 2D modelling of the light distribution of early-type galaxies in a volume-limited sample - II. Results for real galaxiesIn this paper we analyse the results of the two-dimensional (2D) fit ofthe light distribution of 73 early-type galaxies belonging to the Virgoand Fornax clusters, a sample volume- and magnitude-limited down toMB=-17.3, and highly homogeneous. In our previous paper(Paper I) we have presented the adopted 2D models of thesurface-brightness distribution - namely the r1/n and(r1/n+exp) models - we have discussed the main sources oferror affecting the structural parameters, and we have tested theability of the chosen minimization algorithm (MINUIT) in determining thefitting parameters using a sample of artificial galaxies. We show that,with the exception of 11 low-luminosity E galaxies, the best fit of thereal galaxy sample is always achieved with the two-component(r1/n+exp) model. The improvement in the χ2due to the addition of the exponential component is found to bestatistically significant. The best fit is obtained with the exponent nof the generalized r1/n Sersic law different from theclassical de Vaucouleurs value of 4. Nearly 42 per cent of the samplehave n<2, suggesting the presence of exponential bulges' also inearly-type galaxies. 20 luminous E galaxies are fitted by thetwo-component model, with a small central exponential structure (disc')and an outer big spheroid with n>4. We believe that this is probablydue to their resolved core. The resulting scalelengths Rh andRe of each component peak approximately at ~1 and ~2kpc,respectively, although with different variances in their distributions.The ratio Re/Rh peaks at ~0.5, a value typical fornormal lenticular galaxies. The first component, represented by ther1/n law, is probably made of two distinct families,ordinary' and bright', on the basis of their distribution in theμe-log(Re) plane, a result already suggested byCapaccioli, Caon and D'Onofrio. The bulges of spirals and S0 galaxiesbelong to the ordinary' family, while the large spheroids of luminous Egalaxies form the bright' family. The second component, represented bythe exponential law, also shows a wide distribution in theμ0c-log(Rh) plane. Small discs (orcores) have short scalelengths and high central surface brightness,while normal lenticulars and spiral galaxies generally have scalelengthshigher than 0.5kpc and central surface brightness brighter than20magarcsec-2 (in the B band). The scalelengths Reand Rh of the bulge' and disc' components are probablycorrelated, indicating that a self-regulating mechanism of galaxyformation may be at work. Alternatively, two regions of theRe-Rh plane are avoided by galaxies due todynamical instability effects. The bulge-to-disc (B/D) ratio seems tovary uniformly along the Hubble sequence, going from late-type spiralsto E galaxies. At the end of the sequence the ratio between the largespheroidal component and the small inner core can reach B/D~100. Galaxy Populations and Evolution in Clusters. I. Dynamics and the Origin of Low-Mass Galaxies in the Virgo ClusterEarly-type dwarfs are the most common galaxy in the local universe, yettheir origin and evolution remain a mystery. Various cosmologicalscenarios predict that dwarf-like galaxies in dense areas are the firstto form and hence should be the oldest stellar systems in clusters. Byusing radial velocities of early-type dwarfs in the Virgo cluster wedemonstrate that these galaxies are not an old cluster population buthave signatures of production from the infall of field galaxies.Evidence of this includes the combined large dispersions andsubstructure in spatial and kinematic distributions for Virgo early-typedwarfs and a velocity dispersion ratio with giant ellipticals expectedfor virialized and accreted populations. We also argue that thesegalaxies cannot originate from accreted field dwarfs, but must havephysically evolved from a precursor population, of different morphology,that fell into Virgo some time in the past. 1.65 μm (H-band) surface photometry of galaxies. VII. Dwarf galaxies in the Virgo ClusterWe present near-infrared H-band (1.65 μm) observations and surfacebrightness profile decompositions for 75 faint (13.5 <~ mp<~ 18.5) galaxies, primarily taken among dwarf Ellipticals members ofthe Virgo cluster, with some Centaurus Cluster members, a BCD and twopeculiar galaxies taken as fillers. We model their surface brightnessprofiles with a de Vaucouleurs (D), exponential (E), mixed (bulge+diskor M) or truncated (T) law, and we derive for each galaxy the H bandeffective surface brightness (μe) and effective radius(re), the asymptotic total magnitude HT and thelight concentration index C31, defined as the ratio betweenthe radii that enclose 75% and 25% of the total light HT. Fora subsample we compare the NIR surface photometry with similar datataken in the B and V bands, and we give the B-H and B-V color profiles.Combining the present data with those previously obtained by our group(1157 objects) we analyze the NIR properties of a nearly completesample, representative of galaxies of all morphological types, spanning4 decades in luminosity. We confirm our earlier claim that the presenceof cusps and extended haloes in the light profiles (C31>5)is a strong, non-linear function of the total luminosity. We also findthat: i) among dE and dS0 galaxies D profiles are absent; 50% of thedecompositions are of type M, the remaining being of type E or T. ii)Less than 50% of the giant elliptical galaxies have pure D profiles, themajority being represented by M profiles. iii) Most giant galaxies (fromelliptical to Sb) have M profiles. iv) Most of late type spirals (Scd toBCD) have either E or T profiles. v) The type of decomposition is astrong function of the total H band luminosity, independent of theHubble classification: the fraction of type E decompositions decreaseswith increasing luminosity, while those of type M increase withluminosity. Pure D profiles are absent in the low luminosity rangeLH<1010 Lsolar and become dominantabove 1011 Lsolar, while T profiles are presentonly among low luminosity galaxies. vi) We find that dE-peculiargalaxies have structural parameters indistinguishable from those oflate-type dwarfs, thus they might represent the missing link between dEsand dIs. Based on observations taken with the ESO/NTT (ESO program64.N-0288), with the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) operated on theisland of La Palma by the Centro Galileo Galilei of the CNAA at theSpanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the IAC, with the SanPedro Martir 2.1~m telescope of the Observatorio Astronomico Nacional(OAN, Mexico), and with the OHP 1.2~m telescope, operated by the FrenchCNRS. Nearby Optical Galaxies: Selection of the Sample and Identification of GroupsIn this paper we describe the Nearby Optical Galaxy (NOG) sample, whichis a complete, distance-limited (cz<=6000 km s-1) andmagnitude-limited (B<=14) sample of ~7000 optical galaxies. Thesample covers 2/3 (8.27 sr) of the sky (|b|>20deg) andappears to have a good completeness in redshift (97%). We select thesample on the basis of homogenized corrected total blue magnitudes inorder to minimize systematic effects in galaxy sampling. We identify thegroups in this sample by means of both the hierarchical and thepercolation friends-of-friends'' methods. The resulting catalogs ofloose groups appear to be similar and are among the largest catalogs ofgroups currently available. Most of the NOG galaxies (~60%) are found tobe members of galaxy pairs (~580 pairs for a total of ~15% of objects)or groups with at least three members (~500 groups for a total of ~45%of objects). About 40% of galaxies are left ungrouped (field galaxies).We illustrate the main features of the NOG galaxy distribution. Comparedto previous optical and IRAS galaxy samples, the NOG provides a densersampling of the galaxy distribution in the nearby universe. Given itslarge sky coverage, the identification of groups, and its high-densitysampling, the NOG is suited to the analysis of the galaxy density fieldof the nearby universe, especially on small scales. Off-center nuclei in dwarf elliptical galaxiesWe have searched for off-center nuclei in 78 nucleated'' dwarfelliptical (dE,N) galaxies, drawing on digitized photographic imagesfrom a previous study of Virgo cluster dwarfs. The search is based on asimple algorithm which compares the center coordinates of a series ofouter elliptical isophotes with the position of the galaxy's nucleus.Monte Carlo simulations of the measuring procedure are used to assessrandom and systematic errors. Roughly 20% of all dwarf nuclei in thesample (neglecting uncertain cases) are found to be significantlyoff-centered. The typical displacement is 1arcsec , or 100 pc (assuminga Virgo cluster distance of 20 Mpc), corresponding to 0.5 to 1 effectiveradii of the dwarf galaxy. There is a tendency of the nuclear off-centerdisplacement to increase with decreasing surface brightness of theunderlying galaxy. A similar trend was found with normal ellipticalgalaxies before. If real, the effect could mean that a nucleus canoscillate about the galaxy center with larger amplitude in a shallower(less cuspy) gravitational potential. In an appendix we present evidencefor the existence of a strong, unambiguous relation between the nuclearmagnitude and the ellipticity of dE,N galaxies. If a nucleus iscomprising 4% or more of the total light of the underlying galaxy, thatgalaxy is nearly always round, i.e. ellipticity less than 0.15 (dE0,dE1). This effect was predicted qualitatively long ago as the result ofbox orbit disruption caused by a central massive compact object (blackhole). Arcsecond Positions of UGC GalaxiesWe present accurate B1950 and J2000 positions for all confirmed galaxiesin the Uppsala General Catalog (UGC). The positions were measuredvisually from Digitized Sky Survey images with rms uncertaintiesσ<=[(1.2")2+(θ/100)2]1/2,where θ is the major-axis diameter. We compared each galaxymeasured with the original UGC description to ensure high reliability.The full position list is available in the electronic version only. One Arc Degree Core Substructure of the Virgo ClusterNot Available Total magnitude, radius, colour indices, colour gradients and photometric type of galaxiesWe 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. The Virgo photometry catalogue''; a catalogue of 1180 galaxies in the direction of the Virgo Cluster's coreWe present a new catalogue of galaxies in the direction of the VirgoCluster's core: the Virgo Photometry Catalogue (VPC)*. This cataloguecontains 1180 galaxies (including background objects) within a 23square-degree area of the sky centred on R.A._{1950.0} = 12h 26m anddec._{1950.0} = 13(deg) 08'. The VPC galaxy sample comprises ofnon-stellar objects brighter than B_J25 = 19.0; thecompleteness limits being B_J25 ~18.5 for the northern halfof the survey area and B_J25 ~18.0 for the southern half.Independently-calibrated photographic surface photometry is presentedfor over 1000 galaxies in the U, B_J and R_C bands. Parameters listedfor catalogued galaxies include: equatorial coordinates, morphologicaltypes, surface-brightness profile parameters (which preserve themajority of the original surface photometry information), U, B_J &R_C isophotal magnitudes, B_J and [transformed] B total magnitudes,(U-B_J) and (B_J-R_C) equal-area and total colours, apparent angularradii, ellipticities, position angles, heliocentric radial velocitiesand alternative designations. All total magnitudes and total colours areextrapolated according to a new system denoted t in order to distinguishit from the T system already in use. The VPC is based primarily on four(one U, two B_J and one R_C) UK-Schmidt plates, all of which weredigitised using the Royal Observatory Edinburgh's (ROE) COSMOS measuringmachine. All magnitudes, colours and surface-brightness parameters arederived from numerical integrations of segmented plate-scan data, exceptfor (in 109 cases) saturated or (in 51 cases) inextricably-mergedimages; our segmentation software being able to cope with the vastmajority of image mergers. * Appendices B, C and E, which contain thesurface photometry, the main catalogue and the summary cataloguerespectively, are only available in electronic form. They can beobtained from La Centre des Donees astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS) viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html. A Precise Distance Indicator: Type IA Supernova Multicolor Light-Curve ShapesWe present an empirical method that uses multicolor light-curve shapes(MLCSs) to estimate the luminosity, distance, and total line-of-sightextinction of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). The empirical correlationbetween the MLCSs and the luminosity is derived from a "training set" ofnine SN Ia light curves with independent distance and reddeningestimates. We find that intrinsically dim SN Ia's are redder and havefaster light curves than the bright ones, which are slow and blue. By 35days after maximum, the intrinsic color variations become negligible. Aformal treatment of extinction employing Bayes's theorem is used toestimate the best value and its uncertainty. Applying the MLCS method toboth light curves and to color curves provides enough information todetermine which supernovae are dim because they are distant, which areintrinsically dim, and which are dim because of extinction by dust. Theprecision of the MLCS distances is examined by constructing a Hubblediagram with an independent set of 20 SN Ia's. The dispersion of 0.12mag indicates a typical distance accuracy of 5% for a single object, andthe intercept yields a Hubble constant on the Sandage et al. Cepheiddistance scale of H_0_ = 64 +/- 3 (statistical) km s^-1^ Mpc^-1^ (+/-6total error). The slope of 0.2010 +/- 0.0035 mag over the distanceinterval 32.2 < μ < 38.3 yields the most precise confirmationof the linearity of the Hubble law. An image database. II. Catalogue between δ=-30deg and δ=70deg.A preliminary list of 68.040 galaxies was built from extraction of35.841 digitized images of the Palomar Sky Survey (Paper I). For eachgalaxy, the basic parameters are obtained: coordinates, diameter, axisratio, total magnitude, position angle. On this preliminary list, weapply severe selection rules to get a catalog of 28.000 galaxies, wellidentified and well documented. For each parameter, a comparison is madewith standard measurements. The accuracy of the raw photometricparameters is quite good despite of the simplicity of the method.Without any local correction, the standard error on the total magnitudeis about 0.5 magnitude up to a total magnitude of B_T_=17. Significantsecondary effects are detected concerning the magnitudes: distance toplate center effect and air-mass effect.
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