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B. Lee, D. Tucker, J. Annis, C. Stoughton, B. Yanny (Fermilab Experimental Astrophysics Group), Y. Acebo (U. Mich), N. Bahcall (Princeton), H. Boehringer, W. Voges (MPE), N. Ellman (Princeton/Yale), L. Infante (Princeton/PUC), M. Vogeley (Drexel), SDSS Collaboration
Compact groups (CGs) of galaxies -- relatively poor groups of galaxies in which the typical separations between members is of the order of a galaxy diameter -- offer an exceptional laboratory for the study of dense galaxian environments with short (< 1 Gyr) dynamical timescales.
We are now in the preliminary stages of extracting an objectively defined catalogue of CGs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) photometric data down to a limiting galaxy magnitude of r'=21. Since the SDSS will eventually image one quarter of the celestial sphere, we expect our final catalogue will contain over 1000 SDSS CGs. This catalogue will be useful for conducting studies of the general characteristics of CGs, their environments, and their component galaxies. Here we report on initial results based upon the SDSS commissioning data.
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. DE-AC02-76CH03000.