Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 347, 1241-1254 (2004/February-1)
Relation of radio-quiet quasars to galaxy clusters at z < 0.3.
SOCHTING I.K., CLOWES R.G. and CAMPUSANO L.E.
Abstract (from CDS):
We investigate whether radio-quiet quasars (RQQs) with z < 0.3 (and predominantly of low luminosity) are located preferentially in specific regions with respect to the centres and boundaries of neighbouring galaxy clusters. This way of characterizing the environment of RQQs differs from previous studies, which relied on the galaxy excess statistics within small radii around the quasars. For the detection of galaxy clusters we use a robust, semiparametric method based on a maximum likelihood estimate applied to Voronoi tessellation and enhanced by a colour-cut approach, allowing boundary determination and redshift estimates. We find that most of the RQQs reside within 3h–1 Mpc of the centre of a galaxy cluster with comparable redshift and that none of them lies in the core itself. About 20 per cent of the investigated quasars reside between two galaxy clusters, which are possibly at an early stage of merger. Consequently, we suggest that quasars found in rich environments are associated with cluster mergers whereas those found in poorer environments are associated with infall towards a cluster. The information on larger scales provided by our analysis thus allows a clearer interpretation of the diverse environments that have for many years been reported in the literature for smaller scales. We discuss our findings in the context of existing quasar formation models and suggest that at least two formation mechanisms coexist. Additionally, we confirm, using multiple data sets, that low-redshift quasars follow a narrow channel of width ∼10h–1 Mpc around the large-scale structure (LSS) traced by galaxy clusters, in agreement with the first report of this effect by Söchting, Clowes & Campusano. Such a result, if it applies to quasars at higher redshifts, has the potential to explain the clustering of quasars on scales <10h–1 Mpc found initially by Shanks et al. The association of the LSS in clusters with the spatial distribution of quasars is not reproduced by samples of narrow emission-line galaxies (NELGs), indicating that the occurrence of NELGs does not require the same environmental conditions as that of quasars.
galaxies: clusters: general - quasars: general - cosmology: large-scale structure of Universe
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