ENISALA II:Distinct Star Formation and Active Galactic Nucleus Activity in Merging and Relaxed Galaxy Clusters

Stroe, Andra and Sobral, David (2021) ENISALA II:Distinct Star Formation and Active Galactic Nucleus Activity in Merging and Relaxed Galaxy Clusters. The Astrophysical Journal, 912 (1). ISSN 0004-637X

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The growth of galaxy clusters is energetic and may trigger and/or quench star formation and black hole activity. The ENISALA project is a collection of multiwavelength observations aimed at understanding how large-scale structure drives galaxy and black hole evolution. Here, we introduce optical spectroscopy of over 800 H$\alpha$ emission-line galaxies, selected in 14 z~0.15-0.31 galaxy clusters, spanning a range of masses and dynamical states. We investigate the nature of the emission lines in relation to the host galaxy properties, its location within the cluster, and the properties of the parent cluster. We uncover remarkable differences between mergers and relaxed clusters. The majority of H$\alpha$ emission-line galaxies in merging cluster fields are located within 3 Mpc of their center. A large fraction of these line-emitters in merging clusters are powered by star formation irrespective of cluster-centric radius, while the rest are powered by active galactic nuclei. Star-forming galaxies are rare within 3 Mpc of relaxed clusters and active galactic nuclei are most abundant at their outskirts (~1.5-3 Mpc). We discover a population of star-forming galaxies with large equivalent widths and blue UV-optical colors, found exclusively in the merging clusters in our sample. The widespread emission-line activity in merging clusters is likely supported by triggered activity in recently-accreted, gas-rich galaxies. By contrast, our observations for relaxed clusters match established models, in which black hole activity is enhanced at the virial radius and star-formation is quenched within the infall region. We conclude that emission-line galaxies experience distinct evolutionary paths in merging and relaxed clusters.

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Journal Article
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The Astrophysical Journal
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This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication/published in Astrophysical Journal. IOP Publishing Ltd is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abe7f8
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23 Feb 2021 12:23
Last Modified:
26 May 2023 04:23