Sunyaev–Zel’dovich observations of galaxy clusters out to the virial radius with the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager


We request that any reference to this paper cites ‘AMI Consortium: Zwart et al. 2001’.

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We present observations using the Small Array of the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager (AMI; 14–18 GHz) of four Abell and three MACS clusters spanning 0.171–0.686 in redshift. We detect Sunyaev–Zel’dovich (SZ) signals in five of these without any attempt at source subtraction, although strong source contamination is present. With radio-source measurements from high-resolution observations, and under the assumptions of spherical β-model, isothermality and hydrostatic equilibrium, a Bayesian analysis of the data in the visibility plane detects extended SZ decrements in all seven clusters over and above receiver noise, radio sources and primary cosmic microwave background imprints. Formal Bayesian evidence ratios range from 1011:1 to 1043:1 for six of the clusters and 3000:1 for one with substantially fewer data than the others. We present posterior probability distributions for, e.g., total mass and gas fraction averaged over radii internal to which the mean overdensity is 1000, 500 and 200, r200 being the virial radius. Reaching r200 involves some extrapolation for the nearer clusters but not for the more distant ones. We find that our estimates of gas fraction are low (compared with most in the literature) and decrease with increasing radius. These results appear to be consistent with the notion that gas temperature in fact falls with distance (away from near the cluster centre) out to the virial radius.