Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 527A, 129-129 (2011/3-1)
Fossil groups in the millennium simulation. Their environment and its evolution.
DIAZ-GIMENEZ E., ZANDIVAREZ A., PROCTOR R., MENDES DE OLIVEIRA C. and ABRAMO L.R.
Abstract (from CDS):
Fossil systems are defined to be X-ray bright galaxy groups (or clusters) with a two-magnitude difference between their two brightest galaxies within half the projected virial radius, and represent an interesting extreme of the population of galaxy agglomerations. However, the physical conditions and processes leading to their formation are still poorly constrained. We compare the outskirts of fossil systems with that of normal groups to understand whether environmental conditions play a significant role in their formation. We study the groups of galaxies in both, numerical simulations and observations. We use a variety of statistical tools including the spatial cross-correlation function and the local density parameter Δ5 to probe differences in the density and structure of the environments of ``normal'' and ``fossil'' systems in the Millennium simulation. We find that the number density of galaxies surrounding fossil systems evolves from greater than that observed around normal systems at z=0.69, to lower than the normal systems by z=0. Both fossil and normal systems exhibit an increment in their otherwise radially declining local density measure (Δ5) at distances of order 2.5rvir from the system centre. We show that this increment is more noticeable for fossil systems than normal systems and demonstrate that this difference is linked to the earlier formation epoch of fossil groups. Despite the importance of the assembly time, we show that the environment is different for fossil and non-fossil systems with similar masses and formation times along their evolution. We also confirm that the physical characteristics identified in the Millennium simulation can also be detected in SDSS observations. Our results confirm the commonly held belief that fossil systems assembled earlier than normal systems but also show that the surroundings of fossil groups could be responsible for the formation of their large magnitude gap.