Hot gas in superclusters and microwave background distortions

Fred M. Persi, David N. Spergel, Renyue Cen, J. P. Ostriker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Variations in the electron pressure can produce significant distortions of the CMBR spectrum through the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect. In this paper, we compute the amplitude of these distortions in various cosmological scenarios using the results of hydrodynamical simulations combined with analytic theory. For reionized CDM with h = 0.5 probed with the OVRO experiment (Θ 0°.1), we find that the amplitude of these fluctuations is (ΔT/T)rms = 1 x 10-5i/0.06) if the experiment looks at a random part of the sky and 6 x 10-6i/0.06) if bright areas are avoided. Here Ωi is the density of ionized baryons in units of the critical density, ρc = 2.78 x 1011h2 Mpc-3. Primary fluctuations would generate (ΔT/T)rms ≈ 2 x 10-6 for this model. These distortions could be a dominant source of cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) anisotropies on small and intermediate angular scales. It is important to note that these signals are generated relatively recently, when nonlinear effects are important, and do not require early reionization. We also examine the contribution to anisotropies from the Doppler effect, in both the linear and nonlinear regimes. In this case, the bulk of the signal is generated before a redshift of 10, provided that the intercluster medium is ionized back to the surface of last scattering. On the smallest scales thermal effects are bigger, while, on larger scales the Doppler-induced fluctuations are greater with the exact boundary determined by the scenario. However, over a wide range of scales, the two signals are equal to within a factor of a few.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmic microwave background
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Hydrodynamics


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