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The impact of disturbed galaxy clusters on the kinematics of active galactic nuclei

Bilton, Lawrence E.; Pimbblet, Kevin A.; Gordon, Yjan A.


Lawrence E. Bilton

Yjan A. Gordon


© 2020 The Author(s) We produce a kinematic analysis of AGN-hosting cluster galaxies from a sample of 33 galaxy clusters selected using the X-ray Clusters Database (BAX) and populated with galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 8. The 33 galaxy clusters are delimited by their relative intensity of member galaxy substructuring as a proxy to core merging to derive two smaller sub-samples of 8 dynamically active (merging) and 25 dynamically relaxed (non-merging) states. The AGN were selected for each cluster sub-sample by employing the WHAN diagram to the strict criteria of log10([N II]/Hα) ≥ −0.32 and EWHα ≥ 6 Å, providing pools of 70 mergings and 225 non-merging AGN sub-populations. By co-adding the clusters to their respective dynamical states to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of our AGN sub-populations we find that merging galaxy clusters on average host kinematically active AGN between 0-1.5r200 as r200 → 0, where their velocity dispersion profile (VDP) presents a significant deviation from the non-AGN sub-population VDP by ≳3σ. This result is indicative that the AGN-hosting cluster galaxies have recently coalesced on to a common potential. Further analysis of the composite distributions illustrates non-merging AGN-hosting sub-populations have, on average, already been accreted and predominantly lie within backsplash regions of the projected phase-space. This suggests merging cluster dynamical states hold relatively younger AGN sub-populations kinematically compared with those found in non-merging cluster dynamical states.


Bilton, L. E., Pimbblet, K. A., & Gordon, Y. A. (2020). The impact of disturbed galaxy clusters on the kinematics of active galactic nuclei. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 499(3), 3792-3805.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 8, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 14, 2020
Publication Date 2020-12
Deposit Date Dec 17, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 18, 2020
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 499
Issue 3
Pages 3792-3805
Keywords Galaxies - active; Galaxies - clusters - general; Galaxies - kinematics and dynamics
Public URL
Publisher URL


Article (4.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 The Author(s).
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society.

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