Distribution of Merging and Post-merger Galaxies in Nearby Galaxy Clusters

Duho Kim, Yun Kyeong Sheen, Yara L. Jaffé, Kshitija Kelkar, Adarsh Ranjan, Franco Piraino-Cerda, Jacob P. Crossett, Ana Carolina Costa Lourenço, Garreth Martin, Julie B. Nantais, Ricardo Demarco, Ezequiel Treister, Sukyoung K. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the incidence and spatial distribution of galaxies that are currently undergoing gravitational merging (M) or that have signs of being post-merger (PM) in six galaxy clusters (A754, A2399, A2670, A3558, A3562, and A3716) within the redshift range of 0.05 ≲ z ≲0.08. To this aim, we obtained Dark Energy Camera mosaics in the u ′ , g ′ , and r ′ bands covering up to 3 × R 200 of the clusters, reaching 28 mag arcsec−2 surface brightness limits. We visually inspect u ′ g ′ r ′ color-composite images of volume-limited (M r < −20) cluster member galaxies to identify whether galaxies are of M or PM type. We find 4% M-type and 7% PM-type galaxies in the galaxy clusters studied. By adding spectroscopic data and studying the projected phase-space diagram (PPSD) of the projected clustocentric radius and the line-of-sight velocity, we find that PM-type galaxies are more virialized than M-type galaxies, having a 1%-5% higher fraction within the escape-velocity region, while the fraction of M-type was ∼10% higher than the PM type in the intermediate environment. Similarly, on a substructure analysis, M types were found in groups in the outskirts, while PM-type populated groups were found in ubiquitous regions of the PPSD. Adopting literature-derived dynamical state indicator values, we observed a higher abundance of M types in dynamically relaxed clusters. This finding suggests that galaxies displaying post-merger features within clusters likely merged in low-velocity environments, including clusters outskirts and dynamically relaxed clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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