Testing X-ray Measurements of Galaxy Clusters with Cosmological Simulations

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.73). 10/2006; DOI: 10.1086/509868
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT X-ray observations of galaxy clusters potentially provide powerful cosmological probes if systematics due to our incomplete knowledge of the intracluster medium (ICM) physics are understood and controlled. In this paper, we present mock Chandra analyses of cosmological cluster simulations and assess X-ray measurements of galaxy cluster properties using a model and procedure essentially identical to that used in real data analysis. We show that reconstruction of three-dimensional ICM density and temperature profiles is excellent for relaxed clusters, but still reasonably accurate for unrelaxed systems. The total ICM mass is measured quite accurately (<6%) in all clusters, while the hydrostatic estimate of the gravitationally bound mass is biased low by about 5%-20% through the virial region, primarily due to additional pressure support provided by subsonic bulk motions in the ICM, ubiquitous in our simulations even in relaxed systems. Gas fraction determinations are therefore biased high; the bias increases toward cluster outskirts and depends sensitively on its dynamical state, but we do not observe significant trends of the bias with cluster mass or redshift. We also find that different average ICM temperatures, such as the X-ray spectroscopic Tspec and gas-mass-weighted Tmg, are related to each other by a constant factor with a relatively small object-to-object scatter and no systematic trend with mass, redshift or the dynamical state of clusters. We briefly discuss direct applications of our results for different cluster-based cosmological tests.

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    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2010; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2008; 699. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using ray tracing for simple analytic profiles, we demonstrate that the lensing cross section for producing giant arcs has distinct contributions due to arcs formed through image distortion only, and arcs form from the merging of two or three images. We investigate the dependence of each of these contributions on halo ellipticity and on the slope of the density profile, and demonstrate that at fixed Einstein radius, the lensing cross section increases as the halo profile becomes steeper. We then compare simulations with and without baryonic cooling of the same cluster for a sample of six clusters, and demonstrate that cooling can increase the overall abundance of giant arcs by factors of a few. The net boost to the lensing probability for individual clusters is mass dependent, and can lower the effective low mass limit of lensing clusters. This last effect can potentially increase the number of lensing clusters by an extra 50%. While the magnitude of these effects may be overestimated due to the well known overcooling problem in simulations, it is evident that baryonic cooling has a non-negligible impact on the expected abundance of giant arcs, and hence cosmological constraints from giant arc abundances may be subject to large systematic errors.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2006; · 6.73 Impact Factor

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