The density profiles of massive, relaxed galaxy clusters. II. Separating luminous and dark matter in cluster cores

Andrew B. Newman, Tommaso Treu, Richard S. Ellis, David J. Sand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


We present stellar and dark matter (DM) density profiles for a sample of seven massive, relaxed galaxy clusters derived from strong and weak gravitational lensing and resolved stellar kinematic observations within the centrally located brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs). In Paper I of the series, we demonstrated that the total density profile derived from these data, which span three decades in radius, is consistent with numerical DM-only simulations at radii ≳ 5-10 kpc, despite the significant contribution of stellar material in the core. Here, we decompose the inner mass profiles of these clusters into stellar and dark components. Parameterizing the DM density profile as a power law ρDMr on small scales, we find a mean slope 〈β〉 = 0.50 ± 0.10(random)+0.14 -0.13 (systematic). Alternatively, cored Navarro-Frenk-White (NFW) profiles with 〈log r core/kpc〉 = 1.14 ± 0.13 +0.14 -0.22 provide an equally good description. These density profiles are significantly shallower than canonical NFW models at radii ≲ 30 kpc, comparable to the effective radii of the BCGs. The inner DM profile is correlated with the distribution of stars in the BCG, suggesting a connection between the inner halo and the assembly of stars in the central galaxy. The stellar mass-to-light ratio inferred from lensing and stellar dynamics is consistent with that inferred using stellar population synthesis models if a Salpeter initial mass function is adopted. We compare these results to theories describing the interaction between baryons and DM in cluster cores, including adiabatic contraction models and the possible effects of galaxy mergers and active galactic nucleus feedback, and evaluate possible signatures of alternative DM candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • dark matter
  • galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • gravitational lensing: strong
  • gravitational lensing: weak
  • stars: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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