The luminosity of the brightest cluster galaxies remains the best standard candle for observational cosmology. Studies of over 250 relatively nearby clusters show that the luminosity of these objects within an aperture of constant metric diameter has a dispersion of only 0.35 mag. The observations considered by Schneider et al. (1983) were acquired to measure the aperture luminosities of the brightest cluster galaxies. However, the data base, because of its high signal-to-noise ratio and large spatial coverage, allows several other investigations to be performed. In the present investigation, surface photometry of the brightness three galaxies within approximately 250 kpc of the cluster center is presented, taking into account the cores of 83 Abell clusters. The relevance of the photometry to cosmological studies is also discussed. It is found that dynamical friction does play an extremely important role in determining properties of brightest cluster galaxies and cluster morphology.
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X); 268; May 15