Strong lensing in the MARENOSTRUM UNIVERSE
I. Biases in the cluster lens population
INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 INFN, Sezione di Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat 6/2, 40127 Bologna, Italy
3 Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
4 ITA, Zentrum für Astronomie, Universität Heidelberg, Albert Überle Str. 2, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
5 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
6 Grupo de Astrofísica, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Accepted: 18 March 2010
Context. Strong lensing is one of the most direct probes of mass distribution in the inner regions of galaxy clusters. It can be used to constrain the density profiles and to measure the mass of the lenses. Moreover, the abundance of strong lensing events can be used to constrain structure formation and cosmological parameters through the so-called “arc-statistics” approach. However, several issues related to the use of strong lensing clusters in cosmological applications are still controversial, leading to the suspicion that several biases may affect this very peculiar class of objects.
Aims. With this study we aim a better understanding of the properties of galaxy clusters that can potentially act as strong lenses.
Methods. We do so by investigating the properties of a large sample of galaxy clusters extracted from the N-body/hydrodynamical simulation MareNostrum Universe. We perform ray-tracing simulations with each of them and identify those objects capable of producing strong lensing effects. We explore the correlation between the cross section for lensing and many properties of clusters, such as mass, three-dimensional and projected shapes, their concentrations, the X-ray luminosity, and the dynamical activity.
Results. We quantify the minimal cluster mass required for producing both multiple images and large distortions. While we do not measure a significant excess of triaxiality in strong lensing clusters, we find that the probability of strong alignments between the major axes of the lenses and the line of sight is a growing function of the lensing cross section. In projection, the strong lenses appear rounder within R200, but we find that their cores tend to be more elliptical as the lensing cross section increases. As a result of the orientation bias, we also find that the cluster concentrations estimated from the projected density profiles tend to be biased high. The X-ray luminosity of strong lensing clusters tend to be higher than for normal lenses of similar mass and redshift. This is particularly significant for the least massive lenses. Finally, we find that the strongest lenses generally exhibit an excess of kinetic energy within the virial radius, thus indicating that they are more dynamically active than the usual clusters.
Conclusions. We conclude that strong lensing clusters are a very peculiar class of objects, affected by many selection biases that need to be properly modeled when using them to study the inner structure of galaxy clusters or to constrain the cosmological parameters.
Key words: gravitational lensing: strong / galaxies: clusters: general
© ESO, 2010