The Bullet Cluster (1E 0657-56) is well-known as providing visual evidence of dark matter but it is potentially incompatible with the standard ΛCDM cosmology due to the high relative velocity of the two colliding clusters. Previous studies have focussed on the probability of such a high relative velocity amongst selected candidate systems. This notion of `probability' is however difficult to interpret and can lead to paradoxical results. Instead, we consider the expected number of Bullet-like systems on the sky up to a specified redshift, which allows for direct comparison with observations. Using a Hubble volume N-body simulation with high resolution we investigate how the number of such systems depends on the masses of the halo pairs, their separation, and collisional angle. This enables us to extract an approximate formula for the expected number of halo-halo collisions given specific collisional parameters. We use extreme value statistics to analyse the tail of the pairwise velocity distribution and demonstrate that it is fatter than the previously assumed Gaussian form. We estimate that the number of dark matter halo pairs as or more extreme than 1E 0657-56 in mass, separation and relative velocity is 1.3+2.0-0.6 up to redshift z=0.3. However requiring the halos to have collided and passed through each other as is observed decreases this number to only 0.1. The discovery of more such systems would thus indeed present a challenge to the standard cosmology.
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
- Pub Date:
- April 2015
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- v2, 14 pages, 10 figures. Revised in response to Referee's queries - in particular the expected number of Bullet-like systems drops by an order of magnitude when the halos are required to have collided and passed through each other. Accepted by JCAP