Michael McDonald

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (85)362.53 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We cross-match galaxy cluster candidates selected via their Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect (SZE) signatures in 129.1 deg$^2$ of the South Pole Telescope 2500d SPT-SZ survey with optically identified clusters selected from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) science verification data. We identify 25 clusters between $0.1\lesssim z\lesssim 0.8$ in the union of the SPT-SZ and redMaPPer (RM) samples. RM is an optical cluster finding algorithm that also returns a richness estimate for each cluster. We model the richness $\lambda$-mass relation with the following function $\langle\ln\lambda|M_{500}\rangle\propto B_\lambda\ln M_{500}+C_\lambda\ln E(z)$ and use SPT-SZ cluster masses and RM richnesses $\lambda$ to constrain the parameters. We find $B_\lambda= 1.14^{+0.21}_{-0.18}$ and $C_\lambda=0.73^{+0.77}_{-0.75}$. The associated scatter in mass at fixed richness is $\sigma_{\ln M|\lambda} = 0.18^{+0.08}_{-0.05}$ at a characteristic richness $\lambda=70$. We demonstrate that our model provides an adequate description of the matched sample, showing that the fraction of SPT-SZ selected clusters with RM counterparts is consistent with expectations and that the fraction of RM selected clusters with SPT-SZ counterparts is in mild tension with expectation. We model the optical-SZE cluster positional offset distribution with the sum of two Gaussians, showing that it is consistent with a dominant, centrally peaked population and a sub-dominant population characterized by larger offsets. We also cross-match the RM catalog with SPT-SZ candidates below the official catalog threshold significance $\xi=4.5$, using the RM catalog to provide optical confirmation and redshifts for additional low-$\xi$ SPT-SZ candidates.In this way, we identify 15 additional clusters with $\xi\in [4,4.5]$ over the redshift regime explored by RM in the overlapping region between DES science verification data and the SPT-SZ survey.
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    ABSTRACT: We present a multiwavelength morphological analysis of star forming clouds and filaments in the central ($< 50$ kpc) regions of 16 low redshift ($z<0.3$) cool core brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs). New Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging of far ultraviolet continuum emission from young ($\sim 10$ Myr), massive ($> 5$ \Msol) stars reveals filamentary and clumpy morphologies, which we quantify by means of structural indices. The FUV data are compared with X-ray, Ly$\alpha$, narrowband H$\alpha$, broadband optical/IR, and radio maps, providing a high spatial resolution atlas of star formation locales relative to the ambient hot ($\sim10^{7-8}$ K) and warm ionised ($\sim 10^4$ K) gas phases, as well as the old stellar population and radio-bright AGN outflows. Nearly half of the sample possesses kpc-scale filaments that, in projection, extend toward and around radio lobes and/or X-ray cavities. These filaments may have been uplifted by the propagating jet or buoyant X-ray bubble, or may have formed {\it in situ} by cloud collapse at the interface of a radio lobe or rapid cooling in a cavity's compressed shell. The morphological diversity of nearly the entire FUV sample is reproduced by recent hydrodynamical simulations in which the AGN powers a self-regulating rain of thermally unstable star forming clouds that precipitate from the hot atmosphere. In this model, precipitation triggers where the cooling-to- freefall time ratio is $t_{\mathrm{cool}}/t_{\mathrm{ff}}\sim 10$. This condition is roughly met at the maxmial projected FUV radius for more than half of our sample, and clustering about this ratio is stronger for sources with higher star formation rates.
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    ABSTRACT: We present a deep (100 ks) Chandra observation of IDCS J1426.5+3508, a spectroscopically confirmed, infrared-selected galaxy cluster at $z = 1.75$. This cluster is the most massive galaxy cluster currently known at $z > 1.5$, based on existing Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) and gravitational lensing detections. We confirm this high mass via a variety of X-ray scaling relations, including $T_X$-M, $f_g$-M, $Y_X$-M and $L_X$-M, finding a tight distribution of masses from these different methods, spanning M$_{500}$ = 2.3-3.3 $\times 10^{14}$ M$_{\odot}$, with the low-scatter $Y_X$-based mass $M_{500,Y_X} = 2.6^{+1.5}_{-0.5} \times 10^{14}$ M$_\odot$. IDCS J1426.5+3508 is currently the only cluster at $z > 1.5$ for which X-ray, SZ and gravitational lensing mass estimates exist, and these are in remarkably good agreement. We find a relatively tight distribution of the gas-to-total mass ratio, employing total masses from all of the aforementioned indicators, with values ranging from $f_{gas,500}$ = 0.087-0.12. We do not detect metals in the intracluster medium (ICM) of this system, placing a 2$\sigma$ upper limit of $Z(r < R_{500}) < 0.18 Z_{\odot}$. This upper limit on the metallicity suggests that this system may still be in the process of enriching its ICM. The cluster has a dense, low-entropy core, offset by $\sim$30 kpc from the X-ray centroid, which makes it one of the few "cool core" clusters discovered at $z > 1$, and the first known cool core cluster at $z > 1.2$. The offset of this core from the large-scale centroid suggests that this cluster has had a relatively recent ($\lesssim$500 Myr) merger/interaction with another massive system.
  • G M Voit, M Donahue, G L Bryan, M McDonald
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    ABSTRACT: The Universe's largest galaxies reside at the centres of galaxy clusters and are embedded in hot gas that, if left undisturbed, would cool quickly and create many more new stars than are actually observed. Cooling can be regulated by feedback from accretion of cooling gas onto the central black hole, but requires an accretion rate finely tuned to the thermodynamic state of the hot gas. Theoretical models in which cold clouds precipitate out of the hot gas via thermal instability and accrete onto the black hole exhibit the necessary tuning. Recent observational evidence shows that the abundance of cold gas in the centres of clusters increases rapidly near the predicted threshold for instability. Here we report observations showing that this precipitation threshold extends over a large range in cluster radius, cluster mass and cosmic time. We incorporate the precipitation threshold into a framework of theoretical models for the thermodynamic state of hot gas in galaxy clusters. According to that framework, precipitation regulates star formation in some giant galaxies, while thermal conduction prevents star formation in others if it can compensate for radiative cooling and shut off precipitation.
    Nature 03/2015; 519(7542). DOI:10.1038/nature14167 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) surveys find massive clusters of galaxies by measuring the inverse Compton scattering of cosmic microwave background off of intra-cluster gas. The cluster selection function from such surveys is expected to be nearly independent of redshift and cluster astrophysics. In this work, we estimate the effect on the observed SZ signal of centrally-peaked gas density profiles (cool cores) and radio emission from the brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) by creating mock observations of a sample of clusters that span the observed range of classical cooling rates and radio luminosities. For each cluster, we make simulated SZ observations by the South Pole Telescope and characterize the cluster selection function, but note that our results are broadly applicable to other SZ surveys. We find that the inclusion of a cool core can cause a change in the measured SPT significance of a cluster between 0.01% - 10% at z > 0.3, increasing with cuspiness of the cool core and angular size on the sky of the cluster (i.e., decreasing redshift, increasing mass). We provide quantitative estimates of the bias in the SZ signal as a function of a gas density cuspiness parameter, redshift, mass, and the 1.4 GHz radio luminosity of the central AGN. Based on this work, we estimate that, for the Phoenix cluster (one of the strongest cool cores known), the presence of a cool core is biasing the SZ significance high by ~ 6%. The ubiquity of radio galaxies at the centers of cool core clusters will offset the cool core bias to varying degrees.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2015; 802(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/802/1/34 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    Yutong Shan, Michael McDonald, Stephane Courteau
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    ABSTRACT: We present a detailed investigation of the cluster stellar mass-to-light (M*/L) ratio and cumulative stellar masses, derived on a galaxy-by-galaxy basis, for 12 massive (M500 ~ 10^14 - 10^15 Msun), nearby clusters with available optical imaging data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 10 and X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Our method involves a statistical cluster membership using both photometric and spectroscopic redshifts when available to maximize completeness whilst minimizing contamination effects. We show that different methods of estimating the stellar mass-to-light ratio from observed photometry result in systematic discrepancies in the total stellar masses and average mass-to-light ratios of cluster galaxies. Nonetheless, all conversion methodologies point to a lack of correlation between M*/Li and total cluster mass, even though low-mass groups contain relatively more blue galaxies. We also find no statistically significant correlation between M*/Li and the fraction of blue galaxies. For the mass range covered by our sample, the assumption of a Chabrier IMF yields an integrated M*/Li = 1.7 +/- 0.2 Msun/Lsun, a lower value than used in most similar studies, though consistent with the study of low-mass galaxy groups by Leauthaud et al. (2012). A light (diet) Salpeter IMF would imply a ~60% increase in M*/Li.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2014; 800(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/800/2/122 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study the stellar, Brightest Cluster Galaxy (BCG) and intracluster medium (ICM) masses of 14 South Pole Telescope (SPT) selected galaxy clusters with median redshift $z=0.9$ and median mass $M_{500}=6\times10^{14}M_{\odot}$. We estimate stellar masses for each cluster and BCG using six photometric bands spanning the range from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared observed with the VLT, HST and Spitzer. The ICM masses are derived from Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray observations, and the virial masses are derived from the SPT Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect signature. At $z=0.9$ the BCG mass $M_{\star}^{\textrm{BCG}}$ constitutes $0.12\pm0.01$% of the halo mass for a $6\times10^{14}M_{\odot}$ cluster, and this fraction falls as $M_{500}^{-0.58\pm0.07}$. The cluster stellar mass function has a characteristic mass $M_{0}=10^{11.0\pm0.1}M_{\odot}$, and the number of galaxies per unit mass in clusters is larger than in the field by a factor $1.65\pm0.2$. Both results are consistent with measurements on group scales and at lower redshift. We combine our SPT sample with previously published samples at low redshift that we correct to a common initial mass function and for systematic differences in virial masses. We then explore mass and redshift trends in the stellar fraction (fstar), the ICM fraction (fICM), the cold baryon fraction (fc) and the baryon fraction (fb). At a pivot mass of $6\times10^{14}M_{\odot}$ and redshift $z=0.9$, the characteristic values are fstar=$1.1\pm0.1$%, fICM=$9.6\pm0.5$%, fc=$10.4\pm1.2$% and fb=$10.7\pm0.6$%. These fractions all vary with cluster mass at high significance, indicating that higher mass clusters have lower fstar and fc and higher fICM and fb. When accounting for a 15% systematic virial mass uncertainty, there is no statistically significant redshift trend at fixed mass in these baryon fractions. (abridged)
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    ABSTRACT: Clusters of galaxies are expected to gravitationally lens the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and thereby generate a distinct signal in the CMB on arcminute scales. Measurements of this effect can be used to constrain the masses of galaxy clusters using CMB data alone. Here we present a measurement of lensing of the CMB by galaxy clusters using data from the South Pole Telescope (SPT). We develop a maximum likelihood approach to extract the CMB cluster lensing signal and validate the method on mock data. We quantify the effects of several potential sources of systematic error and find that they generally act to reduce the best-fit cluster mass. The net magnitude of the systematic shift to lower cluster mass is approximately the size of our statistical error bar, and we do not attempt to correct for it. We apply the maximum likelihood technique to 513 clusters selected via their SZ signatures in SPT data, and rule out the null hypothesis of no lensing at 3.0$\sigma$. The lensing-derived mass estimate for the full cluster sample is consistent with that inferred from the SZ flux: $M_{200,\rm{lens}} = 0.76^{+0.37}_{-0.36} M_{200,\rm{SZ}}$ (68% C.L., statistical error only).
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    ABSTRACT: While the cooling of the hot intra-cluster medium (ICM) in the cores of galaxy clusters is mostly counteracted by heating from the central active galactic nucleus (AGN), the balance is not perfect. This can lead to residual cooling flows and low-level star formation, the physics of which is not well understood. Here we present a detailed study of the residual cooling flow in the center of the low mass galaxy cluster Sersic 159-03 (A S1101) using far-ultraviolet imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope and far-infrared (FIR) spectroscopy and photometry from the Herschel space observatory, along with a wealth of archival data. We detect extended emission at UV, FIR, and [CII], indicating a star formation rate of ~1-3 Msun/yr, depending on the indicator and assumptions made. The most recently formed stars appear spatially coincident with the lowest entropy ICM. We speculate that this low-entropy gas has been displaced by the central AGN ~7.5 kpc north of the cD galaxy. These data demonstrate that the displacement of the cooling core from the direct vicinity of the central AGN can temporarily break the feedback cycle and lead to cooling and star formation that is offset from the center of the galaxy. We find an abundance (~10^7 Msun) of cold (20K) dust in the center of the cluster and a second FIR peak ~30kpc to the north of the central galaxy. If confirmed to be associated with the cooling filaments, this would be the most extended complex of dust yet found in a cool core cluster.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2014; 804(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/804/1/16 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present CARMA 30 GHz Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) observations of five high-redshift ($z \gtrsim 1$), infrared-selected galaxy clusters discovered as part of the all-sky Massive and Distant Clusters of WISE Survey (MaDCoWS). The SZ decrements measured toward these clusters demonstrate that the MaDCoWS selection is discovering evolved, massive galaxy clusters with hot intracluster gas. Using the SZ scaling relation calibrated with South Pole Telescope clusters at similar masses and redshifts, we find these MaDCoWS clusters have masses in the range $M_{200} \approx 2-6 \times 10^{14}$ $M_\odot$. Three of these are among the most massive clusters found to date at $z\gtrsim 1$, demonstrating that MaDCoWS is sensitive to the most massive clusters to at least $z = 1.3$. The added depth of the AllWISE data release will allow all-sky infrared cluster detection to $z \approx 1.5$ and beyond.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2014; 806(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/806/1/26 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray cavities are key tracers of mechanical (or radio mode) heating arising from the active galactic nuclei (AGN) in brightest cluster galaxies. We report on a survey for X-ray cavities in 83 massive, high-redshift (0.4<z<1.2) clusters of galaxies selected by their Sunyaev-Zel'dovich signature in the South Pole Telescope data. Based on Chandra X-ray images, we find a total of 6 clusters having symmetric pairs of surface brightness depressions consistent with the picture of radio jets inflating X-ray cavities in the intracluster medium. The majority of these detections are of relatively low significance and require deeper follow-up data in order to be confirmed. Further, due to the limitations of Chandra at high redshift, this search misses small (<10 kpc), unresolved X-ray cavities at high (z>0.5) redshift. Despite these limitations, our results suggest that the power generated by AGN feedback in brightest cluster galaxies has remained unchanged for over half of the age of the Universe (>7 Gyrs at z=0.8). On average, the detected X-ray cavities have powers of 0.8-5*10^45 erg/s, enthalpies of 3-6*10^59 erg, and radii of 17 kpc. Integrating over 7 Gyrs, we find that the supermassive black holes in the brightest cluster galaxies may have accreted 10^8 to several 10^9M_sun of material to power these outflows. This level of accretion indicates that significant supermassive black hole growth may occur not only at early times, in the quasar era, but at late times as well. We also find that X-ray cavities at high-redshift may inject an excess heat of 0.1-1.0 keV per particle into the hot intracluster medium above and beyond the energy needed to offset cooling. This value is similar to the energy needed to preheat clusters, break self-similarity, and explain the excess entropy in hot atmospheres.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2014; 805(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/805/1/35 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our proximity and external vantage point make M31 an ideal testbed for understanding the structure of spiral galaxies. The Andromeda Optical and Infrared Disk Survey (ANDROIDS) has mapped M31's bulge and disk out to R=40 kpc in $ugriJK_s$ bands with CFHT using a careful sky calibration. We use Bayesian modelling of the optical-infrared spectral energy distribution (SED) to estimate profiles of M31's stellar populations and mass along the major axis. This analysis provides evidence for inside-out disk formation and a declining metallicity gradient. M31's $i$-band mass-to-light ratio ($M/L_i^*$) decreases from 0.5 dex in the bulge to $\sim 0.2$ dex at 40 kpc. The best-constrained stellar population models use the full $ugriJK_s$ SED but are also consistent with optical-only fits. Therefore, while NIR data can be successfully modelled with modern stellar population synthesis, NIR data do not provide additional constraints in this application. Fits to the $gi$-SED alone yield $M/L_i^*$ that are systematically lower than the full SED fit by 0.1 dex. This is still smaller than the 0.3 dex scatter amongst different relations for $M/L_i$ via $g-i$ colour found in the literature. We advocate a stellar mass of $M_*(30\mathrm{kpc})=10.3^{+2.3}_{-1.7}\times 10^{10}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ for the M31 bulge and disk.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 09/2014; 10(S311). DOI:10.1017/S1743921315003440
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    ABSTRACT: What turns star formation on and off in large galaxies, and what regulates their star-formation rates? These questions are central to modern studies of galaxy evolution and are particularly acute for the universe's largest galaxies, which reside at the centers of galaxy clusters. Roughly one-third of those central galaxies are currently forming stars at 10-100 times the observed rates; the other two-thirds show no evidence for star formation. Here we present a comparison of theoretical models with optical and X-ray data that explains this star-formation dichotomy and confirms for the first time that precipitation of cold clouds out of the hot gas is what triggers the feedback response that regulates star formation. Some of the precipitating clouds form stars while others accrete onto a central black hole, releasing energy that heats the surrounding atmosphere and limits further precipitation. Large bursts of feedback or mergers with other galaxy clusters can shut off precipitation and stop star formation if they enable thermal conduction to outcompete radiative cooling of the hot atmosphere and eradicate cool clouds left over from previous precipitation cycles.
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    ABSTRACT: We present a catalog of galaxy clusters selected via their Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect signature from 2500 deg$^2$ of South Pole Telescope (SPT) data. This work represents the complete sample of clusters detected at high significance in the 2500-square-degree SPT-SZ survey, which was completed in 2011. A total of 677 (409) cluster candidates are identified above a signal-to-noise threshold of $\xi$ =4.5 (5.0). Ground- and space-based optical and near-infrared (NIR) imaging confirms overdensities of similarly colored galaxies in the direction of 516 (or 76%) of the $\xi$>4.5 candidates and 387 (or 95%) of the $\xi$>5 candidates; the measured purity is consistent with expectations from simulations. Of these confirmed clusters, 415 were first identified in SPT data, including 251 new discoveries reported in this work. We estimate photometric redshifts for all candidates with identified optical and/or NIR counterparts; we additionally report redshifts derived from spectroscopic observations for 141 of these systems. The mass threshold of the catalog is roughly independent of redshift above $z$~0.25 leading to a sample of massive clusters that extends to high redshift. The median mass of the sample is $M_{\scriptsize 500c}(\rho_\mathrm{crit})$ ~ 3.5 x 10$^{14} M_\odot h^{-1}$, the median redshift is $z_{med}$ =0.55, and the highest-redshift systems are at $z$>1.4. The combination of large redshift extent, clean selection, and high typical mass makes this cluster sample of particular interest for cosmological analyses and studies of cluster formation and evolution.
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    ABSTRACT: (Abridged) We use 95, 150, and 220GHz observations from the SPT to examine the SZE signatures of a sample of 46 X-ray selected groups and clusters drawn from ~6 deg^2 of the XMM-BCS. These systems extend to redshift z=1.02, have characteristic masses ~3x lower than clusters detected directly in the SPT data and probe the SZE signal to the lowest X-ray luminosities (>10^42 erg s^-1) yet. We develop an analysis tool that combines the SZE information for the full ensemble of X-ray-selected clusters. Using X-ray luminosity as a mass proxy, we extract selection-bias corrected constraints on the SZE significance- and Y_500-mass relations. The SZE significance- mass relation is in good agreement with an extrapolation of the relation obtained from high mass clusters. However, the fit to the Y_500-mass relation at low masses, while in good agreement with the extrapolation from high mass SPT clusters, is in tension at 2.8 sigma with the constraints from the Planck sample. We examine the tension with the Planck relation, discussing sample differences and biases that could contribute. We also present an analysis of the radio galaxy point source population in this ensemble of X-ray selected systems. We find 18 of our systems have 843 MHz SUMSS sources within 2 arcmin of the X-ray centre, and three of these are also detected at significance >4 by SPT. Of these three, two are associated with the group brightest cluster galaxies, and the third is likely an unassociated quasar candidate. We examine the impact of these point sources on our SZE scaling relation analyses and find no evidence of biases. We also examine the impact of dusty galaxies using constraints from the 220 GHz data. The stacked sample provides 2.8$\sigma$ significant evidence of dusty galaxy flux, which would correspond to an average underestimate of the SPT Y_500 signal that is (17+-9) per cent in this sample of low mass systems.
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    ABSTRACT: We present far-UV spectroscopy from the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope of a cool, star-forming filament in the core of Abell 1795. These data, which span 1025A - 1700A, allow for the simultaneous modeling of the young stellar populations and the intermediate-temperature (10^5.5 K) gas in this filament, which is far removed (~30 kpc) from the direct influence of the central AGN. Using a combination of UV absorption line indices and stellar population synthesis modeling, we find evidence for ongoing star formation, with the youngest stars having ages of 7.5 +/- 2.0 Myr and metallicities of 0.4 +/- 0.2 Zsun. The latter is consistent with the local metallicity of the intracluster medium. We detect the O VI (1038) line, measuring a flux of 4.0 +/- 0.9 x 10^-17 erg s^-1 cm^-2. The O VI (1032) line is redshifted such that it is coincident with a strong Galactic H2 absorption feature, and is not detected. The measured O VI (1038) flux corresponds to a cooling rate of 0.85 +/- 0.2 (stat) +/- 0.15 (sys) Msun/yr at ~10^5.5 K, assuming that the cooling proceeds isochorically, which is consistent with the classical X-ray luminosity-derived cooling rate in the same region. We measure a star formation rate of 0.11 +/- 0.02 Msun/yr from the UV continuum, suggesting that star formation is proceeding at 13 +/- 3% efficiency in this filament. We propose that this inefficient star formation represents a significant contribution to the larger-scale cooling flow problem.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 07/2014; 791(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/791/2/L30 · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the design of a new polarization sensitive receiver, SPT-3G, for the 10-meter South Pole Telescope (SPT). The SPT-3G receiver will deliver a factor of ~20 improvement in mapping speed over the current receiver, SPTpol. The sensitivity of the SPT-3G receiver will enable the advance from statistical detection of B-mode polarization anisotropy power to high signal-to-noise measurements of the individual modes, i.e., maps. This will lead to precise (~0.06 eV) constraints on the sum of neutrino masses with the potential to directly address the neutrino mass hierarchy. It will allow a separation of the lensing and inflationary B-mode power spectra, improving constraints on the amplitude and shape of the primordial signal, either through SPT-3G data alone or in combination with BICEP-2/KECK, which is observing the same area of sky. The measurement of small-scale temperature anisotropy will provide new constraints on the epoch of reionization. Additional science from the SPT-3G survey will be significantly enhanced by the synergy with the ongoing optical Dark Energy Survey (DES), including: a 1% constraint on the bias of optical tracers of large-scale structure, a measurement of the differential Doppler signal from pairs of galaxy clusters that will test General Relativity on ~200 Mpc scales, and improved cosmological constraints from the abundance of clusters of galaxies.
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    ABSTRACT: We present a velocity dispersion-based mass calibration of the South Pole Telescope Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect survey (SPT-SZ) galaxy cluster sample. Using a homogeneously selected sample of 100 cluster candidates from 720 deg2 of the survey along with 63 velocity dispersion ($\sigma_v$) and 16 X-ray Yx measurements of sample clusters, we simultaneously calibrate the mass-observable relation and constrain cosmological parameters. The calibrations using $\sigma_v$ and Yx are consistent at the $0.6\sigma$ level, with the $\sigma_v$ calibration preferring ~16% higher masses. We use the full cluster dataset to measure $\sigma_8(\Omega_ m/0.27)^{0.3}=0.809\pm0.036$. The SPT cluster abundance is lower than preferred by either the WMAP9 or Planck+WMAP9 polarization (WP) data, but assuming the sum of the neutrino masses is $\sum m_\nu=0.06$ eV, we find the datasets to be consistent at the 1.0$\sigma$ level for WMAP9 and 1.5$\sigma$ for Planck+WP. Allowing for larger $\sum m_\nu$ further reconciles the results. When we combine the cluster and Planck+WP datasets with BAO and SNIa, the preferred cluster masses are $1.9\sigma$ higher than the Yx calibration and $0.8\sigma$ higher than the $\sigma_v$ calibration. Given the scale of these shifts (~44% and ~23% in mass, respectively), we execute a goodness of fit test; it reveals no tension, indicating that the best-fit model provides an adequate description of the data. Using the multi-probe dataset, we measure $\Omega_ m=0.299\pm0.009$ and $\sigma_8=0.829\pm0.011$. Within a $\nu$CDM model we find $\sum m_\nu = 0.148\pm0.081$ eV. We present a consistency test of the cosmic growth rate. Allowing both the growth index $\gamma$ and the dark energy equation of state parameter $w$ to vary, we find $\gamma=0.73\pm0.28$ and $w=-1.007\pm0.065$, demonstrating that the expansion and the growth histories are consistent with a LCDM model ($\gamma=0.55; \,w=-1$).
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2014; 799(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/799/2/214 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new analysis of very deep Chandra observations of the galaxy cluster Abell 1795. Utilizing nearly 750 ks of net ACIS imaging, we are able to resolve the thermodynamic structure of the Intracluster Medium (ICM) on length scales of ~ 1 kpc near the cool core. We find several previously unresolved structures, including a high pressure feature to the north of the BCG that appears to arise from the bulk motion of Abell 1795's cool core. To the south of the cool core, we find low temperature (~ 3 keV), diffuse ICM gas extending for distances of ~ 50 kpc spatially coincident with previously identified filaments of H-alpha emission. Gas at similar temperatures is also detected in adjacent regions without any H-alpha emission. The X-ray gas coincident with the H-alpha filament has been measured to be cooling spectroscopically at a rate of ~ 1 Solar Masses/ yr, consistent with measurements of the star formation rate in this region as inferred from UV observations, suggesting that the star formation in this filament as inferred by its H$\alpha$ and UV emission can trace its origin to the rapid cooling of dense, X-ray emitting gas. The H-alpha filament is not a unique site of cooler ICM, however, as ICM at similar temperatures and even higher metallicities not cospatial with H$\alpha$ emission is observed just to the west of the H-alpha filament, suggesting that it may have been uplifted by Abell 1795's central active galaxy. Further simulations of cool core sloshing and AGN feedback operating in concert with one another will be necessary to understand how such a dynamic cool core region may have originated and why the H-alpha emission is so localized with respect to the cool X-ray gas despite the evidence for a catastrophic cooling flow.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2014; 799(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/799/2/174 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: (Abridged) We present the results of an X-ray analysis of 80 galaxy clusters selected in the 2500 deg^2 South Pole Telescope survey and observed with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. We divide the full sample into subsamples of ~20 clusters based on redshift and central density, performing an X-ray fit to all clusters in a subsample simultaneously, assuming self-similarity of the temperature profile. This approach allows us to constrain the shape of the temperature profile over 0<r<1.5R500, which would be impossible on a per-cluster basis, since the observations of individual clusters have, on average, 2000 X-ray counts. The results presented here represent the first constraints on the evolution of the average temperature profile from z=0 to z=1.2. We find that high-z (0.6<z<1.2) clusters are slightly (~40%) cooler both in the inner (r<0.1R500) and outer (r>R500) regions than their low-z (0.3<z<0.6) counterparts. Combining the average temperature profile with measured gas density profiles from our earlier work, we infer the average pressure and entropy profiles for each subsample. Overall, our observed pressure profiles agree well with earlier lower-redshift measurements, suggesting minimal redshift evolution in the pressure profile outside of the core. We find no measurable redshift evolution in the entropy profile at r<0.7R500. We observe a slight flattening of the entropy profile at r>R500 in our high-z subsample. This flattening is consistent with a temperature bias due to the enhanced (~3x) rate at which group-mass (~2 keV) halos, which would go undetected at our survey depth, are accreting onto the cluster at z~1. This work demonstrates a powerful method for inferring spatially-resolved cluster properties in the case where individual cluster signal-to-noise is low, but the number of observed clusters is high.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2014; 794(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/794/1/67 · 6.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

531 Citations
362.53 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2015
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Loyola University Maryland
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2012
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Physics
      Berkeley, California, United States
    • Royal Military College of Canada
      Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 2011–2012
    • McGill University
      • Department of Physics
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2007–2012
    • Queen's University
      • Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy
      Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 2009–2011
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Astronomy
      Maryland, United States