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Narrow-band X-ray photometry as a tool for studying galaxy and cluster mass distributions


We explore the utility of narrow-band X-ray surface photometry as a tool for making fully Bayesian, hydrostatic mass measurements of clusters of galaxies, groups and early-type galaxies. We demonstrate that it is sufficient to measure the surface photometry with the Chandra X-ray Observatory in only three (rest frame) bands (0.5-0.9, 0.9-2.0 and 2.0-7.0 keV) in order to constrain the temperature, density and abundance of the hot interstellar medium (ISM). Adopting parametrized models for the mass distribution and radial entropy profile and assuming spherical symmetry, we show that the constraints on the mass and thermodynamic properties of the ISM that are obtained by fitting data from all three bands simultaneously are comparable to those obtained by fitting similar models to the temperature and density profiles derived from spatially resolved spectroscopy, as is typically done. We demonstrate that the constraints can be significantly tightened when exploiting a recently derived, empirical relationship between the gas fraction and the entropy profile at large scales, eliminating arbitrary extrapolations at large radii. This 'Scaled Adiabatic Model' is well suited to modest signal-to-noise ratio data, and we show that accurate, precise measurements of the global system properties are inferred when employing it to fit data from even very shallow, snapshot X-ray observations. The well-defined asymptotic behaviour of the model also makes it ideally suited for use in Sunyaev-Zeldovich studies of galaxy clusters. © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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