The Atacama Cosmology Telescope: Weighing Distant Clusters with the Most Ancient Light

Mathew S. Madhavacheril, Cristóbal Sifón, Nicholas Battaglia, Simone Aiola, Stefania Amodeo, Jason E. Austermann, James A. Beall, Daniel T. Becker, J. Richard Bond, Erminia Calabrese, Steve K. Choi, Edward V. Denison, Mark J. Devlin, Simon R. Dicker, Shannon M. Duff, Adriaan J. Duivenvoorden, Jo Dunkley, Rolando Dünner, Simone Ferraro, Patricio A. GallardoYilun Guan, Dongwon Han, J. Colin Hill, Gene C. Hilton, Matt Hilton, Johannes Hubmayr, Kevin M. Huffenberger, John P. Hughes, Brian J. Koopman, Arthur Kosowsky, Jeff van Lanen, Eunseong Lee, Thibaut Louis, Amanda MacInnis, Jeffrey McMahon, Kavilan Moodley, Sigurd Naess, Toshiya Namikawa, Federico Nati, Laura Newburgh, Michael D. Niemack, Lyman A. Page, Bruce Partridge, Frank J. Qu, Naomi C. Robertson, Maria Salatino, Emmanuel Schaan, Alessandro Schillaci, Benjamin L. Schmitt, Neelima Sehgal, Blake D. Sherwin, Sara M. Simon, David N. Spergel, Suzanne Staggs, Emilie R. Storer, Joel N. Ullom, Leila R. Vale, Alexander van Engelen, Eve M. Vavagiakis, Edward J. Wollack, Zhilei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We use gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) to measure the mass of the most distant blindly selected sample of galaxy clusters on which a lensing measurement has been performed to date. In CMB data from the the Atacama Cosmology Telescope and the Planck satellite, we detect the stacked lensing effect from 677 near-infrared-selected galaxy clusters from the Massive and Distant Clusters of WISE Survey (MaDCoWS), which have a mean redshift of zñ = 1.08. There are currently no representative optical weak lensing measurements of clusters that match the distance and average mass of this sample. We detect the lensing signal with a significance of 4.2s. We model the signal with a halo model framework to find the mean mass of the population from which these clusters are drawn. Assuming that the clusters follow Navarro–Frenk–White (NFW) density profiles, we infer a mean mass of M500cñ = (1.7 + 0.4) ´ 1014 M*. We consider systematic uncertainties from cluster redshift errors, centering errors, and the shape of the NFW profile. These are all smaller than 30% of our reported uncertainty. This work highlights the potential of CMB lensing to enable cosmological constraints from the abundance of distant clusters populating ever larger volumes of the observable universe, beyond the capabilities of optical weak lensing measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL13
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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