The near orthogonal distributions of dwarf elliptical (dE) and giant elliptical (E) galaxies in the μe-M and μe-log(Re) diagrams have been interpreted as evidence for two distinct galaxy formation processes. However, continuous, linear relationships across the alleged dE/E boundary at MB = -18 mag - such as the relationships between central surface brightness μ0 and: a) galaxy magnitude (M); and b) light-profile shape (n) - suggest a similar initial formation mechanism. Here we explain how these latter two trends in fact necessitate a different behavior for dE and E galaxies, exactly as observed, in diagrams involving μe (and also <μ>e). Together with other linear trends across the alleged dE/E boundary, such as those between luminosity and color, metallicity, and velocity dispersion, it appears that the dEs form a continuous extension to the E galaxies. The presence of partially depleted cores in luminous (MB < -20.5 mag) Es does however signify the action of a different physical process at the centers (< ~300 pc) of these galaxies.
Astrophysics and space science library: Penetrating bars through masks of cosmic dust: the Hubble tuning fork strikes a new note / David L. Block, Ivanio Puerari, Kenneth C. Freeman, Robert Groess and Elizabeth K. Block (eds.),
Vol. 319, pp. 723-730