The impact of baryons on massive galaxy clusters: halo structure and cluster mass estimates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Monique Henson
  • David Barnes
  • Scott Kay
  • Ian G. McCarthy
  • Joop Schaye


We use the BAHAMAS and MACSIS hydrodynamic simulations to quantify the impact of baryons on the mass distribution and dynamics of massive galaxy clusters, as well as the bias in X-ray and weak lensing mass estimates. These simulations use the sub-grid physics models calibrated in the BAHAMAS project, which include feedback from both supernovae and active galactic nuclei. They form a cluster population covering almost two orders of magnitude in mass, with more than 3,500 clusters with masses greater than 1014M at z = 0. We start by characterising the clusters in terms of their spin, shape and density profile, before considering the bias in both weak lensing and hydrostatic mass estimates. Whilst including baryonic effects leads to more spherical, centrally concentrated clusters, the median weak lensing mass bias is unaffected by the presence of baryons. In both the dark matter only and hydrodynamic simulations, the weak lensing measurements underestimate cluster masses by 10% for clusters with M20061015M and this bias tends to zero at higher masses. We also consider the hydrostatic bias when using both the true density and temperature profiles, and those derived from X-ray spectroscopy. When using spectroscopic temperatures and densities, the hydrostatic bias decreases as a function of mass, leading to a bias of 40% for clusters with M500>1015M. This is due to the presence of cooler gas in the cluster outskirts. Using mass weighted temperatures and the true density profile reduces this bias to 5􀀀15%.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3361-3378
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date10 Nov 2016
StatePublished - Mar 2017