Given the overwhelming evidence that the Universe is currently undergoing an accelerated expansion, the question of what are the largest gravitationally bound structures remains. A couple of groups, Busha et al. (B03) and Dünner et al. (D06), have attempted to analytically define these limits, arriving at substantially different estimates due to differences in their assumptions about the velocities at the present epoch. In an effort to locate the largest bound structures in the Universe, we selected the Aquarius (ASC), Microscopium (MSC), Corona Borealis (CBSC) and Shapley (SSC) superclusters for study, due to their high number density of rich Abell clusters. Simple N-body simulations, which assumed negligible intercluster mass, were used to assess the likelihood of these structures being gravitationally bound, and the predictions of the models of B03 and D06 were compared with those results. We find that ASC, and MSC contain pairs of clusters which are gravitationally bound, A2541/A2546 and A3695/A3696, respectively, with no other structures having a significant chance of being bound. For SSC, we find a group of five clusters, A3554, A3556, A3558, A3560 and A3562 that are bound, with an additional pair, A1736/A3559, having a slight chance of being bound. We find that CBSC has no extended bound structure, contrary to the findings of Small et al., who claim that the entire supercluster is bound. In regards to the analytical models, we find that B03 will identify structure that is definitely bound, but tends to underestimate the true extent of the structure, while D06 will identify all structure that is bound while overestimating its extent. Combined, the two models can provide lower and upper limits to the extent of bound structures so long as there are no other significant structures nearby or no significant dark matter exterior to the clusters.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- November 2013
- dark energy;
- dark matter;
- large-scale structure of Universe;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics