A catalog of compact groups of galaxies in the SDSS commissioning data

Brian C. Lee, Sahar S. Allam, Douglas L. Tucker, James Annis, David E. Johnston, Ryan Scranton, Yamina Acebo, Neta A. Bahcall, Matthias Bartelmann, Hans Böhringer, Nancy Ellman, Eva K. Grebel, Leopoldo Infante, Jon Loveday, Timothy A. McKay, Francisco Prada, Donald P. Schneider, Chris Stoughton, Alexander S. Szalay, Michael S. VogeleyWolfgang Voges, Brian Yanny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Compact groups (CGs) of galaxies-relatively poor groups of galaxies in which the typical separations between members is of the order of a galaxy diameter-offer an exceptional laboratory for the study of dense galactic environments with short (<1 Gyr) dynamical timescales. We present an objectively defined catalog of CGs in 153 deg2 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Early Data Release. To identify CGs, we applied a modified version of Hickson's criteria of 1982 aimed at finding the highest-density CGs and thus reducing the number of chance alignments. Our catalog contains 175 CGs down to a limiting galaxy magnitude of r* = 21. The resulting catalog has a median depth of zmed ≈ 0.13, substantially deeper than previous CG catalogs. Since the SDSS will eventually image up to one-quarter of the celestial sphere, we expect our final catalog, based on the completed SDSS, will contain on the order of 5000-10,000 CGs. This catalog will be useful for conducting studies of the general characteristics of CGs, their environments, and their component galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1811-1859
Number of pages49
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4 1780
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Atlases
  • Catalogs
  • Surveys


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