Journal Article

The stellar and hot gas content of low-mass galaxy clusters

Michael L. Balogh, Pasquale Mazzotta, Richard G. Bower, Vince Eke, Hervé Bourdin, Ting Lu and Tom Theuns

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 412, issue 2, pages 947-959
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The stellar and hot gas content of low-mass galaxy clusters

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We analyse the stellar and hot gas content of 18 nearby, low-mass galaxy clusters, detected in redshift space and selected to have a dynamical mass 3 × 1014 < M/M < 6 × 1014 (h= 0.7), as measured from the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey. We combine X-ray measurements from both Chandra and XMM with ground-based near-infrared observations from CTIO, Anglo-Australian Telescope and Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope to compare the mass in hot gas and stars to the dynamical mass and state of the clusters. Only 13 of the clusters are detected in X-ray emission, and for these systems we find that a range of 7–20 per cent of their baryonic mass, and <3 per cent of their dynamical mass, is detected in starlight, similar to what is observed in more massive clusters. In contrast, the five undetected clusters are underluminous in X-ray emission, by up to a factor of 10, given their stellar mass. Although the velocity distribution of cluster members in these systems is indistinguishable from a Gaussian, all show subtle signs of being unrelaxed: either they lack a central, dominant galaxy, or the bright galaxy distribution is less concentrated and/or more elongated than the rest of the sample. Thus we conclude that low-mass clusters and groups selected from the velocity distribution of their galaxies exhibit a dichotomy in their hot gas properties. Either they are detected in X-ray, in which case they generally lie on the usual scaling relations, or they are completely undetected in X-ray emission. The non-detections may be partly related to the apparently young dynamical state of the clusters, but it remains a distinct possibility that some of these systems are exceptionally devoid of hot emitting gas as the result of its expulsion or rarefaction.

Keywords: galaxies: clusters: general

Journal Article.  9600 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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