Dynamical Properties of Merging Galaxy Clusters from Simulated Analogs
Published Web Locationhttps://arxiv.org/pdf/1905.00375.pdf
Merging galaxy clusters may provide a unique window into the behavior of dark matter and the evolution of member galaxies. To interpret these natural collider experiments, we must account for how much time has passed since pericenter passage (TSP), the maximum relative speed of the merging subclusters, merger phase (outbound after first pericenter or returning for second pericenter), and other dynamical parameters that are not directly observable. These quantities are often inferred from staged simulations or analytical timing arguments that include neither substructure, nor large-scale structure, nor a cosmologically motivated range of impact parameters. We include all these effects by extracting dynamical parameters from analog systems in a cosmological n-body simulation, and we present constraints for 11 observed systems. The TSP and viewing angles we derive are consistent with those of staged hydrodynamical simulations, but we find lower maximum speeds. Compared to the analytical MCMAC method, we find lower TSP and viewing angles that put the separation vector closer to the plane of the sky; we attribute this to the MCMAC assumption of zero pericenter distance. We discuss potential extensions to the basic analog method, as well as complementarities between methods.