The Las Campanas/Anglo-Australian Telescope Rich Cluster Survey - III. Spectroscopic studies of X-ray bright galaxy clusters at z ∼ 0.1

Kevin A. Pimbblet, Ian Smail, Alastair C. Edge, Eileen O'Hely, Warrick J. Couch, Ann I. Zabludoff

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77 Scopus citations


We present the analysis of the spectroscopic and photometric catalogues of 11 X-ray luminous clusters at 0.07 < z < 0.16 from the Las CampanasAnglo-Australian Telescope Rich Cluster Survey. Our spectroscopic data set consists of over 1600 galaxy cluster members, of which two-thirds are outside r200. These spectra allow us to assign cluster membership using a detailed mass model and expand on our previous work on the cluster colour-magnitude relation (CMR) where membership was inferred statistically. We confirm that the modal colours of galaxies on the CMR become progressively bluer with increasing radius d(B-R)drp=-0.011 ± 0.003 and with decreasing local galaxy density d(B-R)dlog (Σ) =-0.062 ± 0.009. Interpreted as an age effect, we hypothesize that these trends in galaxy colour should be reflected in mean Hδ equivalent width. We confirm that passive galaxies in the cluster increase in Hδ line strength as dHδdrp= 0.35 ± 0.06. Therefore, those galaxies in the cluster outskirts may have younger luminosity-weighted stellar populations; up to 3 Gyr younger than those in the cluster centre assuming d(B-R)dt= 0.03 mag per Gyr. A variation of star formation rate, as measured by O iiλ3727 , with increasing local density of the environment is discernible and is shown to be in broad agreement with previous studies from the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We divide our spectra into a variety of types based upon the MORPHs classification scheme. We find that clusters at z∼ 0.1 are less active than their higher-redshift analogues: about 60 per cent of the cluster galaxy population is non-star forming, with a further 20 per cent in the post-starburst class and 20 per cent in the currently active class, demonstrating that evolution is visible within the past 2-3 Gyr. We also investigate unusual populations of blue and very red non-star forming galaxies and we suggest that the former are likely to be the progenitors of galaxies which will lie on the CMR, while the colours of the latter possibly reflect dust reddening. We show that the cluster galaxies at large radii consist of both backsplash ones and those that are infalling to the cluster for the first time. We make a comparison to the field population at z∼ 0.1 and examine the broad differences between the two populations. Individually, the clusters show significant variation in their galaxy populations which we suggest reflects their recent infall histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-666
Number of pages22
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Catalogues
  • Cosmology: observations
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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