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The rise and fall of star formation in z ∼ 0.2 merging galaxy clusters

A. Stroe, D. Sobral, W. A. Dawson, M. J. Jee, H. Hoekstra, D. Wittman, R. J. van Weeren, M. Brüggen, H. J. A. Röttgering

CIZA J2242.8+5301 (‘Sausage’) and 1RXS J0603.3+4213 (‘Toothbrush’) are two low-redshift (z ∼ 0.2), massive (∼2 × 1015 M), post-core passage merging clusters, which host-shock waves traced by diffuse radio emission. To study their star formation properties, we uniformly survey the ‘Sausage’ and ‘Toothbrush’ clusters in broad- and narrow-band filters and select a sample of 201 and 463 line emitters, down to a rest-frame equivalent width (13 Å). We robustly separate between Hα and higher redshift emitters using a combination of optical multiband (B, g, V, r, i, z) and spectroscopic data. We build Hα luminosity functions for the entire cluster region, near the shock fronts, and away from the shock fronts and find striking differences between the two clusters. In the dynamically younger, 1 Gyr old ‘Sausage’ cluster we find numerous (59) Hα emitters above a star formation rate (SFR) of 0.17 M yr−1 surprisingly located in close proximity to the shock fronts, embedded in very hot intracluster medium plasma. The SFR density for the cluster population is at least at the level of typical galaxies at z ∼ 2. Down to the same SFR, the possibly dynamically more evolved ‘Toothbrush’ cluster has only nine Hα galaxies. The cluster Hα galaxies fall on the SFR–stellar mass relation z ∼ 0.2 for the field. However, the ‘Sausage’ cluster has an Hα emitter density >20 times that of blank fields. If the shock passes through gas-rich cluster galaxies, the compressed gas could collapse into dense clouds and excite star formation for a few 100 Myr. This process ultimately leads to a rapid consumption of the molecular gas, accelerating the transformation of gas-rich field spirals into cluster S0s or ellipticals.

shock waves, galaxies: clusters: individual: CIZA J2242.8+5301, galaxies: clusters: individual: 1RXS J0603.3+4213, galaxies: evolution, cosmology: observations, large-scale structure of Universe

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 450, Issue 1, Page 646
2015 June

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia