Spitzer planck herschel infrared cluster (SPHerIC) survey: Candidate galaxy clusters at 1.3 < z < 3 selected by high star-formation rate

C. Martinache, A. Rettura, H. Dole, M. Lehnert, B. Frye, B. Altieri, A. Beelen, M. Béthermin, E. Le Floc'H, M. Giard, G. Hurier, G. Lagache, L. Montier, A. Omont, E. Pointecouteau, M. Polletta, J. L. Puget, D. Scott, G. Soucail, N. Welikala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


There is a lack of large samples of spectroscopically confirmed clusters and protoclusters at high redshifts, z > 1.5. Discovering and characterizing distant (proto-)clusters is important for yielding insights into the formation of large-scale structure and on the physical processes responsible for regulating star-formation in galaxies in dense environments. The Spitzer Planck Herschel Infrared Cluster (SPHerIC) survey was initiated to identify these characteristically faint and dust-reddened sources during the epoch of their early assembly. We present Spitzer/IRAC observations of 82 galaxy (proto-)cluster candidates at 1.3 < z p < 3.0 that were vetted in a two step process: (1) using Planck to select by color those sources with the highest star-formation rates, and (2) using Herschel at higher resolution to separate out the individual red sources. The addition of the Spitzer data enables efficient detection of the central and massive brightest red cluster galaxies (BRCGs). We find that BRCGs are associated with highly significant, extended and crowded regions of IRAC sources which are more overdense than the field. This result corroborates our hypothesis that BRCGs within the Planck-Herschel sources trace some of the densest and actively star-forming proto-clusters in the early Universe. On the basis of a richness-mass proxy relation, we obtain an estimate of their mean masses which suggests our sample consists of some of the most massive clusters at z ≈ 2 and are the likely progenitors of the most massive clusters observed today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA198
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Submillimeter: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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