A census of baryons in galaxy clusters and groups

Anthony H. Gonzalez, Dennis Zaritsky, Ann I. Zabludoff

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While the baryon fraction in galaxy groups and clusters may be expected to reflect the universal value, observations of cluster baryon fractions have generally fallen short of this expectation and indicated a possible correlation with cluster mass. We present a new determination of the total baryon budget in nearby galaxy groups and clusters that includes the contributions from stars in galaxies, intracluster stars, and the intracluster medium. We find that the baryon mass fraction within r500 is independent of system mass and lower than the WMAP value. We conclude however that the present shortfall provides no compelling evidence for additional missing baryons, since it may arise due to a theoretically predicted deficit of baryons within r500 and systematic uncertainties associated with the mass determinations. With the addition of the ICL to the stellar mass in galaxies, the increase in X-ray gas mass fraction with increasing total mass is entirely accounted for by a decrease in the total stellar mass fraction, supporting the argument that the behavior of both the stellar and X-ray gas components is dominated by a decrease in star formation efficiency in more massive environments. Within just the stellar component, the fraction of the total stellar luminosity in the central, giant brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) and ICL (hereafter the BCG+ICL component) decreases as velocity dispersion () increases, suggesting that ICL may grow less efficiently in higher mass environments. The identification of low mass groups with large BCG+ICL components also demonstrates that the massive cluster environment is not required to form intracluster stars. These proceedings are a condensed version of the work presented in Gonzalez, Zaritsky & Zabludoff (2007), and we refer the reader to that paper for a more complete discussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS244
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • CD
  • Cosmology: observations
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular
  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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