A Full Census of Intracluster Light in the Virgo Cluster

Jessica Krick, V. Desai, E. Murphy, C. Bridge, C. Mihos, C. Rudick, J. Neill, J. Surace, J. Kenney, J. van Gorkom, R. Carlberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We have begun a new multi-wavelength project to explore the interaction history and evolution of galaxies in clusters. As a cluster hierarchically grows, gravitational and gas dynamical effects (e.g. galaxy-galaxy interactions, harassment, ram pressure stripping, starvation) are capable of removing stars, gas, and dust from galaxies. The intracluster light (ICL) therefore holds a record of the growth history of the cluster. We intend to explore a full mass census of the intracluster light in the central degree of the Virgo cluster by looking at the stars, dust, and gas components. We have recently been awarded Spitzer Warm IRAC 3.6 and 4.5micron data to compare with the published V-band imaging of Mihos et al. 2005. In addition we have discovered the first ever detected ICL feature in the UV with GALEX. This feature is ˜50 kpc long, ˜40 kpc from the interacting galaxy pair NGC4438/4435, and is spatially coincident with a tidal plume detected in deep V -band imaging. The presence of this feature in the UV is extremely surpising because previous optical analyses indicate that IC stars are old, and should therefore be undetected in the FUV. Spectral energy distribution(SED) fitting of the GALEX and optical data of this plume reveal not only a population of young IC stars but also significant amounts of IC dust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588
JournalBulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2010

Cite this