Compact groups in the UZC galaxy sample*
Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Corresponding author: P. Focardi, Pfocardi@bo.astro.it
Accepted: 1 March 2002
Applying an automatic neighbour search algorithm to the 3D UZC galaxy catalogue (Falco et al. [CITE]) we have identified 291 compact groups (CGs) with radial velocity between 1000 and 10 000 km s. The sample is analysed to investigate whether Triplets display kinematical and morphological characteristics similar to higher order CGs (Multiplets). It is found that Triplets constitute low velocity dispersion structures, have a gas-rich galaxy population and are typically retrieved in sparse environments. Conversely Multiplets show higher velocity dispersion, include few gas-rich members and are generally embedded structures. Evidence hence emerges indicating that Triplets and Multiplets, though sharing a common scale, correspond to different galaxy systems. Triplets are typically field structures whilst Multiplets are mainly subclumps (either temporarily projected or collapsing) within larger structures. Simulations show that selection effects can only partially account for differences, but significant contamination of Triplets by field galaxy interlopers could eventually induce the observed dependences on multiplicity.
Key words: galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: interactions
© ESO, 2002