AAS 197, January 2001
Session 106. Galaxy Clusters and Large-Scale Structure I
Display, Thursday, January 11, 2001, 9:30-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[106.07] Intracluster Planetary Nebulae in the Fornax Cluster

K. Krelove (PSU), J. Feldmeier (CWRU), R. Ciardullo, P.R. Durrell (PSU)

The bright [O~III] \lambda 5007 emission line of intracluster planetary nebulae (IPN) offers a practical way to probe the distribution and kinematics of intracluster stars in nearby galaxy clusters. Surveys for IPN in the central regions of the Virgo Cluster have been extremely successful, and have yielded a mean surface density of bright (m5007 < 27.0) IPN of ~300 IPN per square degree. This number implies that ~20% of the stellar mass of Virgo lies outside of any galaxy.

In order to use intracluster stars to probe cluster evolution, one needs to know how the density of such stars varies with galactic environment and cluster velocity dispersion. To explore these parameters, we have used the Big Throughput Camera on the CTIO 4-m telescope to search for IPN in 0.582 square degrees of sky in the Fornax Cluster. Our preliminary results show that the IPN density in Fornax is only ~10% lower than that of Virgo, with a surface density of ~270 objects per square degree brighter than m5007 ~27.0. Although our previous blank field observations suggest that ~15% of these objects are background galaxies, the data still show that the surface densities of Fornax and Virgo IPN are similar. We will discuss the implications of these observations.

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