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We study the structure and internal kinematics of the “star pile” in Abell 545 – a low surface brightness structure lying in the center of the cluster. We have obtained deep long-slit spectroscopy of the star pile using VLT/FORS2 and Gemini/GMOS, which is analyzed in conjunction with deep multiband CFHT/MEGACAM imaging. As presented in a previous study the star pile has a flat luminosity profile and its color is consistent with the outer parts of elliptical galaxies. Its velocity map is irregular, with parts being seemingly associated with an embedded nucleus, and others which have significant velocity offsets to the cluster systemic velocity with no clear kinematical connection to any of the surrounding galaxies. This would make the star pile a dynamically defined stellar intra-cluster component. The complicated pattern in velocity and velocity dispersions casts doubts on the adequacy of using the whole star pile as a dynamical test for the innermost dark matter profile of the cluster. This status is fulfilled only by the nucleus and its nearest surroundings which lie at the center of the cluster velocity distribution.


Copyright © 2011 EDP Sciences. Reprinted from Astronomy and Astrophysics, Crazy heart: kinematics of the “star pile” in Abell 545, 528, A61, (2011). The published version of the article can be found online at: