Quantified diffuse light in compact groups of galaxies

Denis Poliakov*, Aleksandr V. Mosenkov, Noah Brosch, Shuki Koriski, R. Michael Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The vast majority of stars in galaxy groups are contained within their constituent galaxies. Some small fraction of stars is expected, however, to follow the global dark matter (DM) potential of the group. In compact groups, interactions between the galaxies should be frequent. This leads to a more intensive material stripping from the group members, which finally forms an intra-group light component (IGL). Therefore, the distribution of the IGL should be related to the distribution of the total mass in the compact group and its dynamical status. In this study, we consider the distribution and fraction of the IGL in a sample of 36 Hickson compact groups (HCGs). We use deep observations of these compact groups (down to surface brightness ∼28 mag arcsec-2 in the r band) obtained with the WISE 28-in. telescope. For five HCGs with a bright symmetric IGL component, we carry out multicomponent photometric decomposition to simultaneously fit the galaxy profiles and the IGL. For the remaining groups, we only fit the profiles of their constituent galaxies. We find that the mean surface brightness of the IGL correlates with the mean morphology of the group: it becomes brighter in the groups with a larger fraction of early-type galaxies. On the other hand, the IGL brightness depends on the total luminosity of the group. The IGL profile tends to have a Sérsic index n ∼0.5-1, which is generally consistent with the mass density profile of DM haloes in compact groups obtained from cosmological simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6059-6077
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • galaxies: general
  • galaxies: groups: general
  • methods: data analysis
  • techniques: image processing


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