Improved optical mass tracer for galaxy clusters calibrated using weak lensing measurements

R. Reyes, R. Mandelbaum, C. Hirata, N. Bahcall, U. Seljak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We develop an improved mass tracer for clusters of galaxies from optically observed parameters, and calibrate the mass relation using weak gravitational lensing measurements. We employ a sample of ∼13 000 optically selected clusters from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) maxBCG catalogue, with photometric redshifts in the range 0.1-0.3. The optical tracers we consider are cluster richness, cluster luminosity, luminosity of the brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) and combinations of these parameters. We measure the weak lensing signal around stacked clusters as a function of the various tracers, and use it to determine the tracer with the least amount of scatter. We further use the weak lensing data to calibrate the mass normalization. We find that the best mass estimator for massive clusters is a combination of cluster richness, N 200, and the luminosity of the BCG, LBCG: M 200ρ = (1.27 ± 0.08)(N200/20) 1.20±0.09[LBCG/L̄BCG(N 200)]0.71±0.14 × 1014 h -1M⊙, where L̄BCG(N200) is the observed mean BCG luminosity at a given richness. This improved mass tracer will enable the use of galaxy clusters as a more powerful tool for constraining cosmological parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1169
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmology: large scale structure of the Universe
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Gravitational lensing


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