A new method for galaxy cluster detection. I. The algorithm.
GLADDERS M.D. and YEE H.K.C.
Abstract (from CDS):
Numerous methods for finding clusters at moderate to high redshifts have been proposed in recent years, at wavelengths ranging from radio to X-rays. In this paper we describe a new method for detecting clusters in two-band optical/near-IR imaging data. The method relies upon the observation that all rich clusters, at all redshifts observed so far, appear to have a red sequence of early-type galaxies. The emerging picture is that all rich clusters contain a core population of passively evolving elliptical galaxies that are coeval and formed at high redshifts. The proposed search method exploits this strong empirical fact by using the red sequence as a direct indicator of overdensity. The fundamental advantage of this approach is that with appropriate filters, cluster elliptical galaxies at a given redshift are redder than all normal galaxies at lower redshifts. A simple color cut thus virtually eliminates all foreground contamination, even at significant redshifts. In this paper, one of a series of two, we describe the underlying assumptions and basic techniques of the method in detail and contrast the method with those used by other authors. We provide a brief demonstration of the effectiveness of the technique using a real photometric sample with redshift data, and from this we conclude that the method offers a powerful yet simple way of identify galaxy clusters. We find that the method can reliably detect structures to masses as small as groups with velocity dispersions of only ∼300 km.s–1, with redshifts for all detected structures estimated to an accuracy of ∼10%.
Galaxies: Clusters: General - Methods: Data Analysis