College - Author 1
College of Science and Mathematics
Department - Author 1
Degree Name - Author 1
BS in Physics
Louise Edwards, College of Science and Mathematics, Physics Department
Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs) are the most massive galaxies in the local universe and have had the full age of the universe to build. This makes their formation and evolution history particularly interesting as they offer a glimpse at potential evolutionary pathways for younger systems. We present the radial profile of ages, metallicities, and preliminary classification of companions to 23 BCGs observed using the SparsePak instrument on WIYN by running the STARLIGHT stellar population synthesis models. This analysis of the BCGs’ stellar populations is done by separating each BCG into different regions, and preliminary results of the stellar populations for different regions, such as the core and outskirts, the intracluster light (ICL), and close companions of the BCG are presented. Close companions, such as dwarf galaxies, are known to have important roles in the formation and evolution of spiral galaxies, so studying the interactions between close companions and BCGs may provide more insight into the formation scenarios for these types of galaxies. The BCG core is found to host an older, more metal-rich population of stars than those found within the ICL, indicative of a scenario in which BCG formation occurs from the inside out.