Evolution of the cluster X-ray luminosity function

C.R. Mullis, A. Vikhlinin, J.P. Henry, W. Forman, I.M. Gioia, Allan Hornstrup, C. Jones, B.R. McNamara, H. Quintana

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We report measurements of the cluster X-ray luminosity function out to z = 0.8 based on the final sample of 201 galaxy systems from the 160 Square Degree ROSAT Cluster Survey. There is little evidence for any measurable change in cluster abundance out to z similar to 0.6 at luminosities of less than a few times 10(44) h(50)(-2) ergs s(-1) (0.5 - 2.0 keV). However, for 0.6 <z <0.8 and at luminosities above 10(44) h(50)(-2) ergs s(-1), the observed volume densities are significantly lower than those of the present-day population. We quantify this cluster deficit using integrated number counts and a maximum likelihood analysis of the observed luminosity-redshift distribution fit with a model luminosity function. The negative evolution signal is more than 3 sigma regardless of the adopted local luminosity function or cosmological framework. Our results and those from several other surveys independently confirm the presence of evolution. Whereas the bulk of the cluster population does not evolve, the most luminous and presumably most massive structures evolve appreciably between z = 0.8 and the present. Interpreted in the context of hierarchical structure formation, we are probing sufficiently large mass aggregations at sufficiently early times in cosmological history, when the universe has yet to assemble these clusters to present-day volume densities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)175-189
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • cosmology : observations
  • X-rays : galaxies : clusters
  • galaxies : clusters : general


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