To examine the evidence for hierarchical evolution on mass scales of ∼1013-1014 M⊙, we apply a statistic that measures correlations between galaxy velocity and projected position (Dressler & Shectman) to data for six poor groups of galaxies, HCG 42, HCG 62, NGC 533, NGC 2563, NGC 5129, and NGC 741. Each group has more than 30 identified members (Zabludoff & Mulchaey). The statistic is sensitive to clumps of galaxies on the sky whose mean velocity and velocity dispersion deviate from the kinematics of the group as a whole. The kinematics of galaxies within ∼0.1 h-1 Mpc of the group center do not deviate from the global values, supporting our earlier claim that the group cores are close to virialization or virialized. We detect significant substructure (at ≥99.9% confidence) in two of the groups with the most confirmed members, HCG 62 and NGC 741, that is attributable mostly to a subgroup lying ∼0.3-0.4 h-1 Mpc outside of the core. We conclude that at least some poor groups, like rich clusters, are evolving via the accretion of smaller structures from the field. With larger poor group surveys, the incidence of such accretion and the distribution of subgroup masses are potential constraints of cosmological models on mass scales of ≲1013-1014 M⊙ and on physical scales of ≲0.5 h-1 Mpc.
- Galaxies: clusters: general
- Large-scale structure of universe
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science