A richness study of 14 distant X-ray clusters from the 160 square degree survey

B.R. McNamara, A. Vikhlinin, Allan Hornstrup, H. Quintana, K. Whitman, W. Forman, C. Jones

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We have measured the surface density of galaxies toward 14 X-ray-selected cluster candidates at redshifts z greater than or similar to 0.46 and we show that they are associated with rich galaxy concentrations. These clusters, having X-ray luminosities of L-x(0.5-2) similar to (0.5-2.6) x 10(44) ergs s(-1), are among the most distant and luminous in our 160 deg(2) ROSAT Position Sensitive Proportional Counter cluster survey. We find that the clusters range between Abell richness classes 0 and 2 and have a most probable richness class of 1. We compare the richness distribution of our distant clusters to those for three samples of nearby clusters with similar X-ray luminosities. We find that the nearby and distant samples have similar richness distributions, which shows that clusters have apparently not evolved substantially in richness since redshift z = 0.5. There is, however, a marginal tendency for the distant clusters to be slightly poorer than nearby clusters, although deeper multicolor data for a large sample would be required to confirm this trend. We compare the distribution of distant X-ray clusters in the plane to the distribution of optically L-X-richness selected clusters from the Palomar Distant Cluster Survey. The optically selected clusters appear overly rich for their X-ray luminosities when compared to X-ray-selected clusters. Apparently, X-ray and optical surveys do not necessarily sample identical mass concentrations at large redshifts. This may indicate the existence of a population of optically rich clusters with anomalously low X-ray emission. More likely, however, it reflects the tendency for optical surveys to select unvirialized mass concentrations, as might be expected when peering along large-scale filaments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)590-597
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • galaxies : clusters : general
  • galaxies : evolution

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