Diffuse light and building history of the galaxy cluster Abell 2667

Research paper by G. Covone, C. Adami, F. Durret, J. -P. Kneib, G. B. Lima Neto, E. Slezak

Indexed on: 15 May '06Published on: 15 May '06Published in: Astrophysics


We have searched for diffuse intracluster light in the galaxy cluster Abell 2667 (z=0.233) from HST images in three filters. We have applied to these images an iterative multi-scale wavelet analysis and reconstruction technique, which allows to subtract stars and galaxies from the original images. We detect a zone of diffuse emission south west of the cluster center (DS1), and a second faint object (ComDif), within DS1. Another diffuse source (DS2) may be detected, at lower confidence level, north east of the center. These sources of diffuse light contribute to 10-15% of the total visible light in the cluster. Whether they are independent entities or are part of the very elliptical external envelope of the central galaxy remains unclear. VLT VIMOS integral field spectroscopy reveals a faint continuum at the positions of DS1 and ComDif but do not allow to compute a redshift. A hierarchical substructure detection method reveals the presence of several galaxy pairs and groups defining a similar direction as the one drawn by the DS1-central galaxy-DS2 axis. The analysis of archive XMM-Newton and Chandra observations shows X-ray emission elongated in the same direction. The X-ray temperature map shows the presence of a cool core, a broad cool zone stretching from north to south and hotter regions towards the north east, south west and north west. This possibly suggests shock fronts along these directions produced by infalling material. These various data are consistent with a picture in which diffuse sources are concentrations of tidal debris and harassed matter expelled from infalling galaxies by tidal stripping and undergoing an accretion process onto the central cluster galaxy; as such, they are expected to be found along the main infall directions.