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Herschel surveys of the nearest clusters of galaxies (HeViCS, HeFoCS)

CAAUL Researchers: Marco Grossi, Ciro Pappalardo
Work Group: Galaxies and Cosmology

The Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey (HeViCS) is a fully sampled survey of about 55 sq deg of the Virgo galaxy cluster, obtained with the Herschel Space Observatory using the instruments PACS and SPIRE in parallel mode. It provides a wavelength coverage in five bands from about 100 to 500 microns.
The Virgo cluster of galaxies is a relatively populous system, consisting of about 1500 catalogued members. It is the nearest galaxy cluster to our own Galaxy at a distance of about 17 Mpc. About 250 Virgo galaxies have been detected at 250 micron in the HeViCS survey.

The Herschel Fornax Cluster Survey (HeFoCS) covers about 16 square degrees of the Fornax cluster at the same wavelength range as HeViCS.
Fornax - at a distance of 18 Mpc - contains 340 catalogued members, thus it is less populous and less massive than Virgo (a factor of seven), but it shows a higher core galaxy density.

The study of the two clusters allow us to compare the far-infrared/submillimeter properties of galaxies residing in rather different environments.

Figure: HeViCS field (left) and HeFoCS field (right).

The science goals include:
  • The study of the cold dust (< 30 K) properties of galaxies in a cluster environment.
  • Understanding the role played by dust in the star-formation cycle.
  • FIR-submm luminosity functions.
  • The detection of dust in dwarf and giant elliptical galaxies.
  • The detection of dust in star-forming dwarf galaxies.
  • The search for dust in the intra-cluster medium.
  • Extended cold dust around galaxies.


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