Precise weak lensing constraints from deep high-resolution K s images: VLT/HAWK-I analysis of the super-massive galaxy cluster RCS2 J 232727.7-020437 at z = 0.70

Tim Schrabback, Mischa Schirmer, Remco F.J. Van Der Burg, Henk Hoekstra, Axel Buddendiek, Douglas Applegate, Maruša Bradač, Tim Eifler, Thomas Erben, Michael D. Gladders, Beatriz Hernández-Martín, Hendrik Hildebrandt, Austin Hoag, Dominik Klaes, Anja Von Der Linden, Danilo Marchesini, Adam Muzzin, Keren Sharon, Mauro Stefanon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that deep good-seeing VLT/HAWK-I Ks images complemented with g + z-band photometry can yield a sensitivity for weak lensing studies of massive galaxy clusters at redshifts 0.7 ≤ z ≤ 1.1, which is almost identical to the sensitivity of HST/ACS mosaics of single-orbit depth. Key reasons for this good performance are the excellent image quality frequently achievable for Ks imaging from the ground, a highly effective photometric selection of background galaxies, and a galaxy ellipticity dispersion that is noticeably lower than for optically observed high-redshift galaxy samples. Incorporating results from the 3D-HST and UltraVISTA surveys we also obtained a more accurate calibration of the source redshift distribution than previously achieved for similar optical weak lensing data sets. Here we studied the extremely massive galaxy cluster RCS2 J232727.7-020437 (z = 0.699), combining deep VLT/HAWK-I Ks images (point spread function with a 0.′′35 full width at half maximum) with LBT/LBC photometry. The resulting weak lensing mass reconstruction suggests that the cluster consists of a single overdensity, which is detected with a peak significance of 10.1σ. We constrained the cluster mass to M200c/(1015 M) = 2.06-0.26+0.28(stat.) ± 0.12(sys.) assuming a spherical Navarro, Frenk & White model and simulation-based priors on the concentration, making it one of the most massive galaxy clusters known in the z ≥ 0.7 Universe. We also cross-checked the HAWK-I measurements through an analysis of overlapping HST/ACS images, yielding fully consistent estimates of the lensing signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA85
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: clusters: individual: RCS2 J232727.7-020437
  • Gravitational lensing: weak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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