Volume 369, Number 3, April III 2001
|Page(s)||826 - 850|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 April 2001|
The ROSAT-ESO flux limited X-ray (REFLEX) galaxy cluster survey. I. The construction of the cluster sample*
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterr. Physik, D 85740 Garching, Germany
2 Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Merate, Italy
3 Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool,UK
4 CEA Saclay, Service d`Astrophysique, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
5 Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, USA
6 Dipartimento di Fisica, Universita degli Studi di Milano, Italy
7 Physics Department, University of Durham, UK
8 Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, UK
9 European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany
Corresponding author: H. Böhringer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 7 February 2001
We discuss the construction of an X-ray flux-limited sample of galaxy clusters, the REFLEX survey catalogue, to be used for cosmological studies. This cluster identification and redshift survey was conducted in the frame of an ESO key programme and is based on candidates selected from the southern part of the ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS). For the first cluster candidate selection from a flux-limited RASS source list, we make use of optical data from the COSMOS digital catalogue produced from the scans of the UK-Schmidt plates. To ensure homogeneity of the sample construction process, this selection is based only on this one well-defined optical data base. The nature of the candidates selected in this process is subsequently checked by a more detailed evaluation of the X-ray and optical source properties and available literature data. The final identification and the redshift is then based on optical spectroscopic follow-up observations. In this paper we document the process by which the primary cluster candidate catalogue is constructed prior to the optical follow-up observations. We describe the reanalysis of the RASS source catalogue which enables us to impose a proper flux limit cut to the X-ray source list without introducing a severe bias against extended sources. We discuss the correlation of the X-ray and optical (COSMOS) data to find galaxy density enhancements at the RASS X-ray source positions and the further evaluation of the nature of these cluster candidates. Based also on the results of the follow-up observations we provide a statistical analysis of the completeness and contamination of the final cluster sample and show results on the cluster number counts. The final sample of identified X-ray clusters reaches a flux limit of 3 10-12 erg s-1 cm-2 in the 0.1-2.4 keV band and comprises 452 clusters in an area of 4.24 ster. The results imply a completeness of the REFLEX cluster sample well in excess of 90% . We also derive for the first time an upper limit of less than 9% for the number of clusters which may feature a dominant contribution to the X-ray emission from AGN. This accuracy is sufficient for the use of this cluster sample for cosmological tests.
Key words: cosmology: miscellaneous / galaxies: clusters / X-rays: galaxies
© ESO, 2001
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