The impact of baryonic cooling on giant arc abundances

Eduardo Rozo, Daisuke Nagai, Charles Keeton, Andrey Kravtsov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Using ray tracing for simple analytic profiles, we demonstrate that the lensing cross section for producing giant arcs has distinct contributions due to arcs formed through image distortion only, and arcs form from the merging of two or three images. We investigate the dependence of each of these contributions on halo ellipticity and on the slope of the density profile, and demonstrate that at fixed Einstein radius, the lensing cross section increases as the halo profile becomes steeper. We then compare simulations with and without baryonic cooling of the same cluster for a sample of six clusters, and demonstrate that cooling can increase the overall abundance of giant arcs by factors of a few. The net boost to the lensing probability for individual clusters is mass dependent, and can lower the effective low-mass limit of lensing clusters. This last effect can potentially increase the number of lensing clusters by an extra 50%. While the magnitude of these effects may be overestimated due to the well-known overcooling problem in simulations, it is evident that baryonic cooling has a nonnegligible impact on the expected abundance of giant arcs, and hence cosmological constraints from giant arc abundances may be subject to large systematic errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-38
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


  • Cosmology: theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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