Abstract. The multiplicity function (MF) of groups and clusters of galaxies is determined using galaxy catalogues extracted from a set of Digitized Palomar Sky Survey (DPOSS) plates. The two different types of structures (of low and high richness) were identified using two different algorithms: a modified version of the van Albada method for groups, and a peak finding algorithm for larger structures. In a 300deg 2 area up to z < 0.2, we find 2944 groups and 179 clusters. Our MF covers a wide range of richnesses, from 2 to 200, and the two MF’s derived by the two algorithms match smoothly without the need for additional conditions or normalisations. The resulting multiplicity function, of slope α = −2.08 ± 0.07, strongly resembles a power law. Key words. galaxy clusters – galaxy groups – multiplicity function 1
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