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Context.Struble (1988, ApJ, 330, L25) found what appeared to be a cD halo without cD galaxy in the center of the galaxy cluster Abell 545. This remarkable feature has been passed almost unnoticed for nearly twenty years. Aims.Our goal is to review Struble's claim by providing a first (preliminary) photometric and spectroscopic analysis of this "star pile". Methods.Based on archival VLT-images and long-slit spectra obtained with Gemini-GMOS, we describe the photometric structure and measure the redshift of the star pile and of the central galaxy. Results.The star pile is indeed associated with Abell 545. Its velocity is higher by about 1300 km s-1 than that of the central object. The spectra indicate an old, presumably metal-rich population. Its brightness profile is much shallower than that of typical cD-galaxies. Conclusions.The formation history and the dynamical status of the star pile remain elusive, until high S/N spectra and a dynamical analysis of the galaxy cluster itself become available. We suggest that the star pile might provide an interesting test of the Cold Dark Matter paradigm.


Copyright © 2007 EDP Sciences. Reprinted from Astronomy and Astrophysics, The star pile in Abell 545, 475(2), 507-512, (2007). The published version of the article can be found online at: