AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 179 Evolution of Galaxies, and Galaxies Surveys at Low Redshift
Poster, Thursday, 9:20am-4:00pm, January 12, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[179.04] The Most Massive Galaxy in the Universe: High Velocity Dispersions from SDSS

V. Bhardwaj, S.A. Ballard (U.C. Berkeley), D.J. Schlegel (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

We present the results of our velocity dispersion analysis of elliptical galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We examine in particular the high \sigma tail of the velocity dispersion function \phi(\sigma), with the expressed intent of determining the most massive galaxy in the survey. Our velocity dispersions agree with previous results. However, to ensure accurate velocity dispersion measurements for very massive galaxies, we additionally address the possibility of interloper superpositions of galaxies. Since a superposition of galaxies along the line of sight can masquerade as one single massive galaxy, our analysis includes careful examination of these spectra to ensure that our velocity dispersion values are legitimate for very high \sigma. This involves developing deconvolution techniques for testing spectroscopic superpositions.

Since the SDSS spectroscopic survey covers 20% of the sky to a depth of z=0.45, there is a 1 in 5 chance that we identify the highest \sigma, and correspondingly the most massive, galaxy in the universe.

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