The x-ray luminous galaxy cluster population at 0.9 < z ≲ 1.6 as revealed by the XMM-Newton Distant Cluster Project
We present the largest sample to date of spectroscopically confirmed x-ray luminous high-redshift galaxy clusters comprising 22 systems in the range 0.9 as part of the XMM-Newton Distant Cluster Project (XDCP). All systems were initially selected as extended x-ray sources over 76.1 deg2 of non-contiguous deep archival XMM-Newton coverage, of which 49.4 deg2 are part of the core survey with a quantifiable selection function and 17.7 deg2 are classified as ‘gold’ coverage as the starting point for upcoming cosmological applications. Distant cluster candidates were followed up with moderately deep optical and near-infrared imaging in at least two bands to photometrically identify the cluster galaxy populations and obtain redshift estimates based on the colors of simple stellar population models. We test and calibrate the most promising redshift estimation techniques based on the R-z and z-H colors for efficient distant cluster identifications and find a good redshift accuracy performance of the z-H color out to at least z ˜ 1.5, while the redshift evolution of the R-z color leads to increasingly large uncertainties at z ≳ 0.9. Photometrically identified high-z systems are spectroscopically confirmed with VLT/FORS 2 with a minimum of three concordant cluster member redshifts. We present first details of two newly identified clusters, XDCP J0338.5+0029 at z = 0.916 and XDCP J0027.2+1714 at z = 0.959, and investigate the x-ray properties of SpARCS J003550-431224 at z = 1.335, which shows evidence for ongoing major merger activity along the line-of-sight. We provide x-ray properties and luminosity-based total mass estimates for the full sample of 22 high-z clusters, of which 17 are at z ⩾ 1.0 and seven populate the highest redshift bin at z > 1.3. The median system mass of the sample is M200 ≃ 2 × 1014 M⊙, while the probed mass range for the distant clusters spans approximately (0.7-7) × 1014 M⊙. The majority (>70%) of the x-ray selected clusters show rather regular x-ray morphologies, albeit in most cases with a discernible elongation along one axis. In contrast to local clusters, the z > 0.9 systems mostly do not harbor central dominant galaxies coincident with the x-ray centroid position, but rather exhibit significant brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) offsets from the x-ray center with a median value of about 50 kpc in projection and a smaller median luminosity gap to the second-ranked galaxy of Δm12 ≃ 0.3 mag. We estimate a fraction of cluster-associated NVSS 1.4 GHz radio sources of about 30%, preferentially located within 1‧ from the x-ray center. This value suggests an increase of the fraction of very luminous cluster-associated radio sources by about a factor of 2.5-5 relative to low-z systems. The galaxy populations in z ≳ 1.5 cluster environments show first evidence for drastic changes on the high-mass end of galaxies and signs of a gradual disappearance of a well-defined cluster red-sequence as strong star formation activity is observed in an increasing fraction of massive galaxies down to the densest core regions. The presented XDCP high-z sample will allow first detailed studies of the cluster population during the critical cosmic epoch at lookback times of 7.3-9.5 Gyr on the aggregation and evolution of baryons in the cold and hot phases as a function of redshift and system mass.Based on observations under program IDs 079.A-0634 and 085.A-0647 collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile, and observations collected at the Centro Astronómico Hispano Alemán (CAHA) at Calar Alto, operated jointly by the Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC).
New Journal of Physics
- Pub Date:
- December 2011
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics
- 61 pages, 13 color figures, accepted for publication in New Journal of Physics for the focus issue on 'Galaxy Clusters'