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X-ray selected galaxy clusters in the Pan-STARRS Medium Deep Survey

Ebeling, H.; Edge, A.C.; Burgett, W.S.; Chambers, K.C.; Hodapp, K.W.; Huber, M.E.; Kaiser, N.; Price, P.A.; Tonry, J.L.

X-ray selected galaxy clusters in the Pan-STARRS Medium Deep Survey Thumbnail


H. Ebeling

W.S. Burgett

K.C. Chambers

K.W. Hodapp

M.E. Huber

N. Kaiser

P.A. Price

J.L. Tonry


We present the results of a pilot study for the extended Massive Cluster Survey (eMACS), a comprehensive search for distant, X-ray luminous galaxy clusters at z > 0.5. Our pilot study applies the eMACS concept to the 71 deg2 area extended by the 10 fields of the Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Medium Deep Survey (MDS). Candidate clusters are identified by visual inspection of PS1 images in the g, r, i and z bands in a 5 × 5 arcmin2 region around X-ray sources detected in the ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS). To test and optimize the eMACS X-ray selection criteria, our pilot study uses the largest possible RASS data base, i.e. all RASS sources listed in the Bright and Faint Source Catalogues (BSC and FSC) that fall within the MDS footprint. We apply no additional constraints regarding X-ray flux, spectral hardness ratio or photon statistics and lower the redshift threshold to z > 0.3 to extend the probed luminosity range to poorer systems. Scrutiny of PS1/MDS images for 41 BSC and 200 FSC sources combined with dedicated spectroscopic follow-up observations results in a sample of 11 clusters with estimated or spectroscopic redshifts of z > 0.3. In order to assess and quantify the degree of point source contamination of the observed RASS fluxes, we examine archival Chandra data obtained in targeted and serendipitous observations of six of the 11 clusters found. As expected, the diffuse emission from all six systems is contaminated by point sources to some degree, and for half of them active galactic nucleus emission dominates. X-ray follow-up observations will thus be crucial in order to establish robust cluster luminosities for eMACS clusters. Although the small number of distant X-ray luminous clusters in the MDS does not allow us to make firm predictions for the over 20 000 deg2 of extragalactic sky covered by eMACS, the identification of two extremely promising eMACS cluster candidates at z ≳ 0.6 (both yet to be observed with Chandra) in such a small solid angle is encouraging. Representing a tremendous gain over the presently known two dozen such systems from X-ray, optical and Sunyaev–Zel’dovich cluster surveys combined, the sample of over 100 extremely massive clusters at z > 0.5 expected from eMACS would be invaluable for the identification of the most powerful gravitational lenses in the Universe, as well as for in-depth and statistical studies of the physical properties of the most massive galaxy clusters out to z ∼ 1.


Ebeling, H., Edge, A., Burgett, W., Chambers, K., Hodapp, K., Huber, M., …Tonry, J. (2013). X-ray selected galaxy clusters in the Pan-STARRS Medium Deep Survey. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 432(1), 62-72.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 11, 2013
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jun 18, 2014
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 432
Issue 1
Pages 62-72
Keywords Galaxies: clusters: general, X-rays: galaxies: clusters


Published Journal Article (9.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2013 The Authors<br /> Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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