Spitzer Observations of Brightest Galaxies in X-ray Luminous Clusters

E Egami, KA Misselt, GH Rieke, MW Wise, Graham Smith

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74 Citations (Scopus)


We have studied the infrared properties of the brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) located in the cores of X-ray-luminous clusters at 0: 15 <z <0: 35. The majority of the BCGs are not particularly infrared-luminous compared with other massive early-type galaxies, suggesting that the cluster environment has little influence on the infrared luminosities of the BCGs. The exceptions, however, are the BCGs in the three X-ray-brightest clusters in the sample, A1835, Z3146, and A2390. These BCGs have a prominent far-infrared peak in their spectral energy distributions (SEDs), and two of them ( those in A1835 and Z3146) can be classified as luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs: L-IR > 10(11) L-circle dot). Although radio AGNs ( active galactic nuclei) are found to be prevalent among the BCGs, the infrared luminosities of these three BCGs, judged from the infrared SED signatures, are likely to be powered by star formation. Considering the overall trend that clusters with shorter radiative gas cooling times harbor more infrared-luminous BCGs, the enhanced star formation may be caused by the cooling cluster gas accreting onto the BCGs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-933
Number of pages12
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2006


  • infrared : galaxies
  • cooling flows
  • galaxies : clusters : general galaxies : elliptical and lenticular
  • galaxies : active
  • cD


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