AbstractsAstronomy & Space Science

Galaxy proto-clusters as an interface between structure, cluster, and galaxy formation

by -6320-261X

Institution: University of Texas – Austin
Year: 2016
Keywords: Galaxies; Clusters
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2072135
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/39750


Proto-clusters, the distant progenitor large-scale structures of present day galaxy clusters, represent a key phase of cluster growth during which most of the galaxies were still rapidly forming stars. They are potentially powerful cosmological probes, and are unique laboratories to study dark matter assembly, the cosmic baryon cycle, and the environmental impact on galaxy evolution. Albeit its pivotal role in understanding cluster formation, only a small and heterogeneous sample of proto-clusters has been observed to date. Theoretical characterizations have also remained relatively unexplored. In this dissertation, I present baseline models, detailed theory predictions, and broad observational applications of proto-clusters using state-of-the-art numerical simulations and deep-wide galaxy surveys. A dual focus of both structure formation and galaxy evolution is given throughout the thesis. To prepare for large statistical studies in upcoming surveys like the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX), the Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS) survey, and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) survey, I develop key machinery to connect the main observables of proto-clusters with dark matter structure formation using simulations as a guide. In Chapter 2 and 3, I present, for the first time, a thorough analysis of the main properties of proto-clusters using ~3000 clusters in a set of cosmological N-body simulations and semi-analytic galaxy models. I characterize the growth of proto-clusters and their core halos in size and mass with cosmic time. I show that the progenitor regions of galaxy clusters can already be identified in galaxy surveys at very early times (at least up to z~5), provided that the galaxy overdensities are measured on a sufficiently large scale (5 – 30 Mpc comoving) and with sufficient statistics. I present the overdensities in matter, dark matter halos, and galaxies as functions of present-day cluster mass, redshift, bias, and selection window size that can be used to interpret the wide range of structures found in real surveys. A table of proto-cluster candidates selected from the literature is provided, and I discuss their properties in light of our simulation predictions. In Chapter 4 I report the discovery of a large sample of proto-cluster candidates in the 1.62 deg2 COSMOS/UltraVISTA field traced by optical/infrared selected galaxies with photometric redshifts. By comparing properly smoothed three-dimensional galaxy density maps of the observations and a set of matched simulations incorporating the main observational effects, I found 36 candidate structures at 1.61014} Msun. With solely photometric redshifts, I successfully rediscover two spectroscopically confirmed structures in this field, suggesting that our algorithm is robust. This work is the first large sample of uniformly selected proto-cluster candidates, providing rich targets for spectroscopic follow-up and subsequent studies of cluster formation.… Advisors/Committee Members: Gebhardt, Karl (advisor), Overzier, Roderik (advisor), Jogee, Shardha (committee member), Milosavljevic, Milos (committee member), Finkelstein, Steven (committee member), Ouchi, Masami (committee member).