College of Science and Mathematics
BS in Physics
Louise O.V. Edwards
Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs), the brightest galaxy in a cluster of hundreds to thousands of galaxies, are some of the biggest, brightest, and most massive galaxies in the universe. Characterizing a BCG can help discover more about galaxy evolution - the aging, changing, and possible merging (collisions) of galaxies. This project involves determining the separation of the peak of x-ray emission of the galaxy cluster, and the peak of visible emission of the BCG to characterize the system as being disturbed or undisturbed that can then lead to discoveries about its formation and evolution. We have found that 17.4% of the systems have large separations, and thus may have undergone a recent merging event. By comparing to previously published data, we can better define, more accurately classify, and further explain BCGs. More so, through analysis of the marriage of the results from spectra - like chemical composition, age, and velocities - and the differences in centroid distance, we can attain conclusions about each galaxy, or possibly determine any existing relationship among galaxies with disturbed states. This document highlights the steps undertaken to get images and data from databases, to create X-ray contours, and to overlay them on optical images. A discussion of locating and gathering the centroids of both the X-ray and optical images, steps to begin analysis, including learning how to use Jupyter notebook is also included. The analysis includes creating multiple histograms, and a comparison with previously published data.