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|Paper IPM / M / 12423||
The luminosity gap between the two brightest members of galaxy groups and clusters is thought to offer a strong test for the models of galaxy formation and evolution. This study focuses on the statistics of the luminosity gap in galaxy groups in particular fossil groups, e.g., large luminosity gaps, in an analogy with the same in a cosmological simulation. We use spectroscopic legacy data of the seventh data release (DR7) of SDSS, to extract a volume-limited sample of galaxy groups utilizing a modified friends-of-friends (MFOF) algorithm. Attention is paid to galaxy groups in which the brightest group galaxy (BGG) is more luminous than Mr = -22 . An initial sample of 620 groups in which 109 optical fossil groups were identified, where the luminosity gap exceeds 2 mag. We compare the statistics of the luminosity gap in galaxy groups at low-mass range from the SDSS with the same in the Millennium simulations where galaxies are modeled semianalytically. We show that the BGGs residing in galaxy groups with large luminosity gaps, i.e., fossil groups, are brighter, on average, and live in lower-mass halos with respect to their counterparts in nonfossil systems. Although low-mass galaxy groups are thought to have recently formed, we show that in galaxy groups with 15 galaxies brighter than Mrï¿½?ï¿½ -19.5, evolutionary process are most likely to be responsible for the large luminosity gap. We also examine a new probe of finding fossil groups, ï¿½? m14 ï¿½?ï¿½ 2.5 , and find that the fossil groups selected according to the new probe are more abundant than those selected using the conventional probe, ï¿½? m12 ï¿½?ï¿½ 2 , in a low halo mass regime, ï¿½?ï¿½ 1014 Msun. In addition, we extend the recently introduced observational probe based on the luminosity gap, the butterfly diagram, to galaxy groups, and we study the probe as a function of halo mass. This probe can, in conjunction with the luminosity function, help to fine-tune the semianalytical models of galaxies employed in the cosmological simulations.
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