Galaxy cluster luminosities and colours, and their dependence on cluster mass and merger state

Sarah L. Mulroy, Sean L. Mcgee, Steven Gillman, Graham P. Smith, Chris P. Haines, Jessica Démoclès, Nobuhiro Okabe, Eiichi Egami

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We study a sample of 19 galaxy clusters in the redshift range 0.15 < z < 0.30 with highly complete spectroscopic membership catalogues (to K < K*(z) + 1.5) from the Arizona Cluster Redshift Survey, individual weak-lensing masses and near-infrared data from the Local Cluster Substructure Survey, and optical photometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We fit the scaling relations between total cluster luminosity in each of six bandpasses (grizJK) and cluster mass, finding cluster luminosity to be a promising mass proxy with low intrinsic scatter σln L|M of only ∼10–20 per cent for all relations. At fixed overdensity radius, the intercept increases with wavelength, consistent with an old stellar population. The scatter and slope are consistent across all wavelengths, suggesting that cluster colour is not a function of mass. Comparing colour with indicators of the level of disturbance in the cluster, we find a narrower variety in the cluster colours of ‘disturbed’ clusters than of ‘undisturbed’ clusters. This trend is more pronounced with indicators sensitive to the initial stages of a cluster merger, e.g. the Dressler Schectman statistic. We interpret this as possible evidence that the total cluster star formation rate is ‘standardized’ in mergers, perhaps through a process such as a system-wide shock in the intracluster medium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3246-3255
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date19 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2017


  • gravitational lensing: weak
  • – galaxies: clusters: general
  • cosmology: observations.


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