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Characterizing the dynamics of galaxy cluster mergers with multi-wavelength observations and hydrodynamical simulations

Presentation #428.01 in the session Galaxy Clusters.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Characterizing the dynamics of galaxy cluster mergers with multi-wavelength observations and hydrodynamical simulations

Mergers between massive clusters of galaxies are the primary growth mechanism of galaxy clusters, so studies of their dynamics can test the paradigm of hierarchical structure formation in the universe over cosmic time. We have assembled a set of deep, multi-wavelength data for a sample of 8 galaxy clusters, 7 of which have previously been identified as likely mergers, that incorporates SZ-derived line-of-sight (LOS) intracluster medium (ICM) velocities with spectroscopic LOS cluster-member galaxy velocities that trace the dark matter (DM) distribution, plane-of-sky (POS) X-ray morphologies, and gravitational lensing mass reconstructions. This data forms a complete set of observables that we use to probe the POS morphology and LOS velocity of both the ICM and DM components of mergers for the first time in such an analysis. By performing a systematic comparison of these novel multi-probe observations to corresponding observables generated with idealized hydrodynamical binary galaxy cluster merger simulations, we aim to constrain the merger geometry and dynamics for each member of our sample and use these results to infer population statistics of major mergers between clusters of galaxies. We will describe a preliminary investigation into the first member of the sample, MACS J0018.5+1626 (CL 0016+16).

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