We present a Chandra study of 38 X-ray-luminous clusters of galaxies in the ROSAT Brightest Cluster Sample (BCS) that lie at moderate redshifts (z~ 0.15-0.4). Based primarily on power ratios and temperature maps, we find that the majority of clusters at moderate redshift generally have smooth, relaxed morphologies with some evidence for mild substructure perhaps indicative of recent minor merger activity. Using spatially resolved spectral analyses, we find that cool cores appear still to be common at moderate redshift. At a radius of 50 kpc, we find that at least 55 per cent of the clusters in our sample exhibit signs of mild cooling (tcool < 10 Gyr), while in the central bin at least 34 per cent demonstrate signs of strong cooling (tcool < 2 Gyr). These percentages are nearly identical to those found for luminous, low-redshift clusters of galaxies, indicating that there appears to be little evolution in cluster cores since z~ 0.4 and suggesting that heating and cooling mechanisms may already have stabilized by this epoch. Comparing the central cooling times to catalogues of central Hα emission in BCS clusters, we find a strong correspondence between the detection of Hα and central cooling time. We also confirm a strong correlation between the central cooling time and cluster power ratios, indicating that crude morphological measures can be used as a proxy for more rigorous analysis in the face of limited signal-to-noise ratio data. Finally, we find that the central temperatures for our sample typically drop by no more than a factor of ~3-4 from the peak cluster temperatures, similar to those of many nearby clusters.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- June 2005
- galaxies: clusters: general;
- cooling flows;
- X-rays: galaxies: clusters;
- 10 pages, 8 figures, accepted to MNRAS