Characterizing galaxy groups: spectroscopic observations of the Shakhbazyan sample

Abstract

Groups of galaxies are the most common cosmic structures. However, due to the poor statistics, projection effects and the lack of accurate distances, our understanding of their dynamical and evolutionary status is still limited. This is particularly true for the so-called Shakhbazyan groups (SHK) which are still largely unexplored due to the lack of systematic spectroscopic studies of both their member galaxies and the surrounding environment. In our previous paper, we investigated the statistical properties of a large sample of SHK groups using Sloan Digital Sky Survey data and photometric redshifts. Here we present the follow-up of five SHK groups (SHK 10, 71, 75, 80, 259) observed within our spectroscopic campaign with the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, aimed at confirming their physical reality and strengthening our photometric results. For each of the selected groups, we were able to identify between 6 and 13 spectroscopic members, thus confirming the robustness of the photometric redshift approach in identifying real galaxy over-densities. Consistently with the finding of our previous paper, the structures studied here have properties spanning from those of compact and isolated groups to those of loose groups. For what the global physical properties are concerned (total mass, mass-to-light ratios, etc.), we find systematic differences with those reported in the literature by previous studies. Our analysis suggests that previous results should be revisited; we show in fact that if the literature data are re-analysed in a consistent and homogeneous way, the properties obtained are in agreement with those estimated for our sample.

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