Warm-hot gas in X-ray bright galaxy clusters and the HI-deficient circumgalactic medium in dense environments

Joseph N. Burchett, Todd M. Tripp, Q. Daniel Wang, Christopher N.A. Willmer, David V. Bowen, Edward B. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We analyse the intracluster medium (ICM) and circumgalactic medium (CGM) in seven X-ray-detected galaxy clusters using spectra of background quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) (HSTCOS/ STIS), optical spectroscopy of the cluster galaxies (MMT/Hectospec and SDSS), and X-ray imaging/spectroscopy (XMM-Newton and Chandra). First, we report a very low covering fraction of HI absorption in the CGM of these cluster galaxies, fc = 25 -15 +25per cent, to stringent detection limits (N(H I) < 1013 cm-2). As field galaxies have an HI covering fraction of ~ 100 per cent at similar radii, the dearth of CGM HI in our data indicates that the cluster environment has effectively stripped or overionized the gaseous haloes of these cluster galaxies. Secondly, we assess the contribution of warm-hot (105-106 K) gas to the ICM as traced by OVI and broad Ly a (BLA) absorption. Despite the high signal-to-noise ratio of our data, we do not detect OVI in any cluster, and we only detect BLA features in the QSO spectrum probing one cluster. We estimate that the total column density of warm-hot gas along this line of sight totals to ~ 3 per cent of that contained in the hot T > 107 K X-ray emitting phase. Residing at high relative velocities, these features may trace pre-shocked material outside the cluster. Comparing gaseous galaxy haloes from the low-density 'field' to galaxy groups and high-density clusters, we find that the CGM is progressively depleted of HI with increasing environmental density, and the CGM is most severely transformed in galaxy clusters. This CGM transformation may play a key role in environmental galaxy quenching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2067-2085
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: groups: general
  • Galaxies: haloes
  • Quasars: absorption lines
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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