Discovery of "warm dust" galaxies in clusters at z ∼ 0.3: Evidence for stripping of cool dust in the dense environment?

T. D. Rawle, M. Rex, E. Egami, S. M. Chung, P. G. Pérez-González, I. Smail, G. Walth, B. Altieri, P. Appleton, A. Berciano Alba, A. W. Blain, M. Dessauges-Zavadsky, D. Fadda, A. H. Gonzalez, M. J. Pereira, I. Valtchanov, P. P. Van Der Werf, M. Zemcov

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20 Scopus citations


Using far-infrared imaging from the "Herschel Lensing Survey," we derive dust properties of spectroscopically confirmed cluster member galaxies within two massive systems at z ∼ 0.3: the merging Bullet Cluster and the more relaxed MS2137.3-2353. Most star-forming cluster sources (∼90%) have characteristic dust temperatures similar to local field galaxies of comparable infrared (IR) luminosity (Tdust ∼ 30 K). Several sub-luminous infrared galaxy (LIRG; LIR < 1011 LȮ) Bullet Cluster members are much warmer (Tdust > 37 K) with far-infrared spectral energy distribution (SED) shapes resembling LIRG-type local templates. X-ray and mid-infrared data suggest that obscured active galactic nuclei do not contribute significantly to the infrared flux of these "warm dust" galaxies. Sources of comparable IR luminosity and dust temperature are not observed in the relaxed cluster MS2137, although the significance is too low to speculate on an origin involving recent cluster merging. "Warm dust" galaxies are, however, statistically rarer in field samples (>3σ), indicating that the responsible mechanism may relate to the dense environment. The spatial distribution of these sources is similar to the whole far-infrared bright population, i.e., preferentially located in the cluster periphery, although the galaxy hosts tend toward lower stellar masses (M < 1010MȮ). We propose dust stripping and heating processes which could be responsible for the unusually warm characteristic dust temperatures. A normal star-forming galaxy would need 30%-50% of its dust removed (preferentially stripped from the outer reaches, where dust is typically cooler) to recover an SED similar to a "warm dust" galaxy. These progenitors would not require a higher IR luminosity or dust mass than the currently observed normal star-forming population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2012


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Infrared: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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