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MACS: A Quest for the Most Massive Galaxy Clusters in the Universe

Ebeling, H.; Edge, A.C.; Henry, J.P.

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H. Ebeling

J.P. Henry


We describe the design and current status of a new X-ray cluster survey aimed at the compilation of a statistically complete sample of very X-ray luminous (and thus, by inference, massive), distant clusters of galaxies. The primary goal of the Massive Cluster Survey (MACS) is to increase the number of known massive clusters at z > 0.3 from a handful to hundreds. Upon completion of the survey, the MACS cluster sample will greatly improve our ability to study quantitatively the physical and cosmological parameters driving cluster evolution at redshifts and luminosities poorly sampled by all existing surveys. To achieve these goals, we apply an X-ray flux and X-ray hardness ratio cut to select distant cluster candidates from the ROSAT Bright Source Catalogue. Starting from a list of more than 5000 X-ray sources within the survey area of 22,735 deg2, we use positional cross-correlations with public catalogs of Galactic and extragalactic objects, reference to Automated Plate Measuring Machine (APM) colors, visual inspection of Digitized Sky Survey images, extensive CCD imaging, and finally spectroscopic observations with the University of Hawaii's 2.2 m and the Keck 10 m telescopes to compile the final cluster sample. We discuss in detail the X-ray selection procedure and the resulting selection function and present model predictions for the number of distant clusters expected to emerge from MACS. At the time of this writing the MACS cluster sample comprises 101 spectroscopically confirmed clusters at 0.3 ≤ z ≤ 0.6; more than two-thirds of these are new discoveries. Our preliminary sample is already 15 times larger than that of the EMSS in the same redshift and X-ray luminosity range.


Ebeling, H., Edge, A., & Henry, J. (2001). MACS: A Quest for the Most Massive Galaxy Clusters in the Universe. Astrophysical Journal, 553(1), 668-676.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2001
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2013
Publicly Available Date Jan 3, 2014
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Electronic ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 553
Issue 1
Pages 668-676
Keywords Cosmology, Observations, Galaxies, Clusters, Surveys, X-rays.


Published Journal Article (1.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2001. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

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