The effective radius () of a galaxy is the radius at which half of the total light of the system is emitted. This assumes the galaxy has either intrinsic spherical symmetry or is at least circularly symmetric as viewed in the plane of the sky. Alternatively, a half-light contour, or isophote, may be used for spherically and circularly asymmetric objects.
where is the surface brightness at . Note that at ,
Thus, the central surface brightness is approximately .
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