The Distribution of Dark and Luminous Matter in the Unique Galaxy Cluster Merger Abell 2146


Abell 2146 (z = 0.232) consists of two galaxy clusters undergoing a major merger. The system was discovered in previous work, where two large shock fronts were detected using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, consistent with a merger close to the plane of the sky, caught soon after first core passage. A weak gravitational lensing analysis of the total gravitating mass in the system, using the distorted shapes of distant galaxies seen with Advanced Camera for Surveys - Wide Field Channel on Hubble Space Telescope, is presented. The highest peak in the reconstruction of the projected mass is centred on the brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) in Abell 2146-A. The mass associated with Abell 2146-B is more extended. Bootstrapped noise mass reconstructions show the mass peak in Abell 2146-A to be consistently centred on the BCG. Previous work showed that BCG-A appears to lag behind an X-ray cool core; although the peak of the mass reconstruction is centred on the BCG, it is also consistent with the X-ray peak given the resolution of the weak lensing mass map. The best-fitting mass model with two components centred on the BCGs yields M200 = 1.1_{-0.4}^{+0.3} × 10¹⁵ and 3_{-2}^{+1} × 10¹⁴ M_⊙ for Abell 2146-A and Abell 2146-B, respectively, assuming a mass concentration parameter of c = 3.5 for each cluster. From the weak lensing analysis, Abell 2146-A is the primary halo component, and the origin of the apparent discrepancy with the X-ray analysis where Abell 2146-B is the primary halo is being assessed using simulations of the merger.



Galaxies—Clusters, Abell 2146, Galaxy mergers, X-ray sources, Galactic, X-ray astronomy, Galactic halos


©2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press. All Rights Reserved.