Merging Cluster Collaboration: Optical and Spectroscopic Survey of a Radio-selected Sample of 29 Merging Galaxy Clusters
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4365/aaf88b
Multi-band photometric and multi-object spectroscopic surveys of merging galaxy clusters allow for the characterization of the distributions of constituent DM and galaxy populations, constraints on the dynamics of the merging subclusters, and an understanding of galaxy evolution of member galaxies. We present deep photometric observations from Subaru/SuprimeCam and a catalog of 4431 spectroscopic galaxies from Keck/DEIMOS observations of 29 merging galaxy clusters ranging in redshift from z = 0.07 to 0.55. The ensemble is compiled based on the presence of radio relics, which highlight cluster-scale collisionless shocks in the intracluster medium. Together with the spectroscopic and photometric information, the velocities, timescales, and geometries of the respective merging events may be tightly constrained. In this preliminary analysis, the velocity distributions of 28 of the 29 clusters are shown to be well fit by single Gaussians. This indicates that radio-relic mergers largely occur transverse to the line of sight and/or near-apocenter. In this paper, we present our optical and spectroscopic surveys, preliminary results, and a discussion of the value of radio-relic mergers for developing accurate dynamical models of each system.