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Testing Sunyaev-Zel'dovich measurements of the hot gas content of dark matter haloes using synthetic skies

Brun, AMCL and McCarthy, IG and Melin, J-B (2015) Testing Sunyaev-Zel'dovich measurements of the hot gas content of dark matter haloes using synthetic skies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ISSN 0035-8711

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The thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (tSZ) effect offers a means of probing the hot gas in and around massive galaxies and galaxy groups and clusters, which is thought to constitute a large fraction of the baryon content of the Universe. The Planck collaboration recently performed a stacking analysis of a large sample of `locally brightest galaxies' (LBGs) and, surprisingly, inferred an approximately self-similar relation between the tSZ flux and halo mass. At face value, this implies that the hot gas mass fraction is independent of halo mass, a result which is in apparent conflict with resolved X-ray observations. We test the robustness of the inferred trend using synthetic tSZ maps generated from cosmological hydrodynamical simulations and using the same tools and assumptions applied in the Planck study. We show that, while the detection and the estimate of the `total' flux (within $5 r_{500}$) is reasonably robust, the inferred flux originating from within $r_{500}$ (i.e. the limiting radius to which X-ray observations typically probe) is highly sensitive to the assumed pressure distribution of the gas. Using our most realistic simulations with AGN feedback, that reproduce a wide variety of X-ray and optical properties of groups and clusters, we estimate that the derived tSZ flux within $r_{500}$ is biased high by up to to an order of magnitude for haloes with masses $M_{500} \sim 10^{13}$ M$_{\odot}$. Moreover, we show that the AGN simulations are consistent with the total tSZ flux-mass relation observed with Planck, whereas a self-similar model is ruled out.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Association Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.CO; astro-ph.CO
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 12:09
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2015 12:09
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/696

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