EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 378, Number 2, November I 2001
Page(s) 408 - 427
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011215

A&A 378, 408-427 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011215

A systematic study of X-ray substructure of galaxy clusters detected in the ROSAT All-Sky Survey

P. Schuecker1, H. Böhringer1, T. H. Reiprich1 and L. Feretti2

1  Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany
2  Istituto di Radioastronomia CNR, Bologna, Italy

(Received 17 January 2001 / Accepted 16 August 2001)

Results of a systematic study of substructure in X-ray surface brightness distributions of a combined sample of 470 REFLEX+BCS clusters of galaxies are presented. The fully automated morphology analysis is based on data of the 3rd processing of the ROSAT All-Sky survey (RASS-3). After correction for several systematic effects, $52\pm 7$ percent of the REFLEX+BCS clusters are found to be substructured in metric apertures of 1 Mpc radius ( $H_0= 50 {\rm km} {\rm s}^{-1} {\rm Mpc}^{-1}$). Future simulations will show statistically which mass spectrum of major and minor mergers contributes to this number. Another important result is the discovery of a substructure-density relation, analogous to the morphology-density relation for galaxies. Here, clusters with asymmetric or multi-modal X-ray surface brightness distributions are located preferentially in regions with higher cluster number densities. The substructure analysis techniques are used to compare the X-ray morphology of 53 clusters with radio halos and relics, and 22 cooling flow clusters with the REFLEX+BCS reference sample. After careful equalization of the different "sensitivities" of the subsamples to substructure detection it is found that the halo and relic sample tends to show more often multi-modal and elongated X-ray surface brightness distributions compared to the REFLEX+BCS reference sample. The cooling flow clusters show more often circular symmetric and unimodal distributions compared to the REFLEX+BCS and the halo/relic reference samples. Both findings further support the idea that radio halos and relics are triggered by merger events, and that pre-existing cooling flows might be disrupted by recent major mergers.

Key words: galaxies: clusters: general

Offprint request: P. Schuecker, peters@mpe.mpg.de

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© ESO 2001

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