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Is A2261 a Fossil Galaxy Cluster in a Transitional Dynamical State?

Presentation #204.05 in the session Galaxies and Cluster of Galaxies.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Is A2261 a Fossil Galaxy Cluster in a Transitional Dynamical State?

Fossil cluster A2261 is well studied, but previous studies give contradictory results on its dynamical states, such as its X-ray central entropy and magnitude gap. To improve our understanding of its dynamical state, we conduct multiobject spectroscopic observations with Hectospec on the MMT, covering an area out to 5 virial radii from the cluster center, and get improved completeness and membership. Using these new data, we calculate multiple dynamical indicators, including Gaussianity, distance offset, and velocity offset. These indicators suggest that A2261 is moderately relaxed. However, a Dressler–Shectman test reveals a group candidate to the south at a projected distance that is near the virial radius and overlaps with an X-ray tail-like feature. One of the galaxies associated with that group would be sufficiently bright to reduce the fossil magnitude gap. This raises the possibility that A2261 could have recently transited in fossil status, if the group had previously crossed the cluster and is only now found outside. In the cluster outskirts, we see an extended feature of galaxies located on the opposite side of the cluster from the group candidate. On even larger scales, we find that this feature connects, both on the sky and in velocity space, with a long (4.4 Mpc) filamentary structure in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. This could support the idea that a group was fed into the cluster through the filament, temporarily breaking the fossil status and resulting in a minor merger that weakly disturbed the intracluster medium of the cluster.

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