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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Richard Bower

Terlevich, A.I., Caldwell, N. & Bower, R.G. (2001). The colour–magnitude relation for galaxies in the Coma cluster. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 326(4): 1547-1562.

Author(s) from Durham


We present a new photometric catalogue of the Coma galaxy cluster in the Johnson U and V bands. We cover an area of 3360 arcmin2 of sky, to a depth of Graphic in a 13-arcsec diameter aperture, and produce magnitudes for ∼1400 extended objects in metric apertures from 8.8- to 26-arcsec diameters. The mean internal rms scatter in the photometry is 0.014 mag in V, and 0.026 mag in U, for Graphic.

We place new limits on the levels of scatter in the colour–magnitude relation (CMR) in the Coma cluster, and investigate how the slope and scatter of the CMR depend on galaxy morphology, luminosity and position within the cluster. As expected, the lowest levels of scatter are found in the elliptical galaxies, while the late-type galaxies have the highest numbers of galaxies bluewards of the CMR. We investigate whether the slope of the CMR is an artefact of colour gradients within galaxies, and show that it persists when the colours are measured within a diameter that scales with galaxy size. Looking at the environmental dependence of the CMR, we find a trend of systematically bluer galaxy colours with increasing projected radius from the centre of the cluster. Surprisingly, this is accompanied by a decreased scatter of the CMR. We investigate whether this gradient could be caused by dust in the cluster potential, however the reddening required would produce too large a scatter in the colours of the central galaxies. The gradient appears to be better reproduced by a gradient in the mean galactic ages with projected radius.