The UV-optical colours of brightest cluster galaxies in optically and X-ray selected clusters

Wang, Jing
Overzier, Roderik
Kauffmann, Guinevere
von der Linden, Anja
Kong, Xu
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Many brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) at the centers of X-ray selected clusters exhibit clear evidence for recent star formation. However, studies of BCGs in optically-selected clusters show that star formation is not enhanced when compared to control samples of non-BCGs of similar stellar mass. Here we analyze a sample of 113 BCGs in low redshift (z<0.1), optically-selected clusters, a matched control sample of non-BCGs, and a smaller sample of BCGs in X-ray selected clusters. We convolve the SDSS images of the BCGs to match the resolution of the GALEX data and we measure UV-optical colours in their inner and outer regions. We find that optically-selected BCGs exhibit smaller scatter in optical colours and redder inner NUV-r colours than the control galaxies, indicating that they are a homogenous population with very little ongoing star formation. The BCGs in the X-ray selected cluster sample span a similar range in optical colours, but have bluer NUV-r colours. Among X-ray selected BCGs, those located in clusters with central cooling times of less than 1 Gyr are significantly bluer than those located in clusters where the central gas cooling times are long. Our main conclusion is that the location of a galaxy at the centre of its halo is not sufficient to determine whether or not it is currently forming stars. One must also have information about the thermodynamic state of the gas in the core of the halo.
Comment: 14 pages, 13 figures, Accepted by MNRAS
Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies, Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics