The origin of dwarf ellipticals in the Virgo Cluster

A. Boselli, S. Boissier, Luca Cortese, G. Gavazzi

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163 Citations (Scopus)


We study the evolution of dwarf (LH <109.6 L H?) star-forming and quiescent galaxies in the Virgo Cluster by comparing their UV to radio centimetric properties to the predictions of multizone chemospectrophotometric models of galaxy evolution especially tuned to take into account the perturbations induced by the interaction with the cluster intergalactic medium. Our models simulate one or multiple ram pressure stripping events and galaxy starvation. Models predict that all star-forming dwarf galaxies entering the cluster for the first time loose most, if not all, of their atomic gas content, quenching on short timescales (<150 Myr) their activity of star formation. These dwarf galaxies soon become red and quiescent, gas metal-rich objects with spectrophotometric and structural properties similar to those of dwarf ellipticals. Young, low-luminosity, high surface brightness star-forming galaxies such as late-type spirals and BCDs are probably the progenitors of relatively massive dwarf ellipticals, while it is likely that low surface brightness Magellanic irregulars evolve into very low surface brightness quiescent objects hardly detectable in ground-based imaging surveys. The small number of dwarf galaxies with physical properties intermediate between those of star-forming and quiescent systems is consistent with a rapid (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-767
Number of pages26
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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