Measuring the total infrared light from galaxy clusters at z=0.5-1.6: connecting stellar populations to dusty star formation

Stacey Alberts, Kyoung Soo Lee, Alexandra Pope, Mark Brodwin, Yi Kuan Chiang, Jed McKinney, Rui Xue, Yun Huang, Michael Brown, Arjun Dey, Peter R.M. Eisenhardt, Buell T. Jannuzi, Roxana Popescu, Vandana Ramakrishnan, Spencer A. Stanford, Benjamin J. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Massive galaxy clusters undergo strong evolution from z ∼ 1.6 to z ∼ 0.5, with overdense environments at high-z characterized by abundant dust-obscured star formation and stellar mass growth which rapidly give way to widespread quenching. Data spanning the near- to far- infrared (IR) spectrum can directly trace this transformation; however, such studies have largely been limited to the massive galaxy end of cluster populations. In this work, we present “total light” stacking techniques spanning 3.4 − 500 µm aimed at revealing the total cluster infrared emission, including low mass members and any potential intracluster dust. We detail our procedures for WISE, Spitzer, and Herschel imaging, including corrections to recover the total stacked emission in the case of high fractions of detected galaxies. We apply our stacking techniques to 232 well-studied massive (log M200/M ∼ 13.8) clusters across multiple redshift bins, recovering extended cluster emission at all wavelengths, typically at > 5σ. We measure the averaged near- to far-IR radial profiles and spectral energy distributions (SEDs), quantifying the total stellar and dust content. The near-IR radial profiles are well described by an NFW model with a high (c ∼ 7) concentration parameter. Dust emission is similarly concentrated, albeit suppressed at small radii (r < 0.2 Mpc). The measured SEDs lack warm dust, consistent with the colder SEDs expected for low mass galaxies. We derive total stellar masses consistent with the theoretical Mhalo − M? relation and specific-star formation rates that evolve strongly with redshift, echoing that of massive (log M?/M & 10) cluster galaxies. Separating out the massive galaxy population reveals that the majority of cluster far-IR emission (∼ 70 − 80%) is provided by the low mass constituents, which differs from field galaxies. This effect may be a combination of mass-dependent quenching and excess dust in low mass cluster galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020


  • Galaxies:clusters
  • Galaxies:evolution
  • Galaxies:star formation
  • Infrared:galaxies
  • Techniques:stacking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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