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Paper: Understanding low and high velocity dispersion compact groups
Volume: 209, Small Galaxy Groups, IAU Colloquium 174
Page: 217
Authors: Mamon, G. A.
Abstract: A galaxy system must have a minimum velocity dispersion for its mass to be greater than the sum of the masses of its galaxies. Nearly half of the nearby Hickson compact groups (HCGs) have too low a velocity dispersion in comparison with the rotational velocities of their spiral galaxies and internal velocity dispersions of their early types. A detailed study of the low velocity dispersion group, HCG 16 --- the only known group of late-type galaxies with diffuse intergalactic X-ray emitting hot gas --- reveals that half of the diffuse X rays are associated with foreground/background sources and the remaining gas is clumpy and mostly associated with the bright galaxies of the group. The large-scale environment of the group suggests that HCG 16 lies where a cosmological filament falls perpendicularly onto a large-scale sheet. The observed frequency of compact groups is lower than predicted from the extended Press-Schechter formalism, which also predicts that most 1013 Modot objects in the Universe must be fairly old and hence have already coalesced into single objects, reminiscent of elliptical galaxies over-luminous in X-rays that are now being discovered. Thus, the low survival time of dense groups against the merging instability is no longer a worry for compact groups, as they form in large enough numbers. I show why other arguments against the reality of HCGs no longer hold, partly because of the biases of Hickson's sample.
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