Multi-wavelength study of XMMU J2235.3-2557: The most massive galaxy cluster at z >1

P. Rosati, P. Tozzi, R. Gobat, J. S. Santos, M. Nonino, R. Demarco, C. Lidman, C. R. Mullis, V. Strazzullo, H. Böhringer, R. Fassbender, K. Dawson, M. Tanaka, J. Jee, H. Ford, G. Lamer, A. Schwope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Context. The galaxy cluster XMMU J2235.3-2557 (hereafter XMM2235), spectroscopically confirmed at z = 1.39, is one of the most distant X-ray selected galaxy clusters. It has been at the center of a multi-wavelength observing campaign with ground and space facilities. Aims. We characterize the galaxy populations of passive members, the thermodynamical properties and metal abundance of the hot gas, and the total mass of the system using imaging data with HST/ACS (i 775 and z 850 bands) and VLT/ISAAC (J and K S bands), extensive spectroscopic data obtained with VLT/FORS2, and deep (196 ks) Chandra observations. Methods. Chandra data allow temperature and metallicity to be measured with good accuracy and the X-ray surface brightness profile to be traced out to 1′ (or 500 kpc), thus allowing the mass to be reliably estimated. Out of a total sample of 34 spectroscopically confirmed cluster members, we selected 16 passive galaxies (without detectable [OII]) within the central 2′ (or 1 Mpc) with ACS coverage, and inferred star formation histories for subsamples of galaxies inside and outside the core by modeling their spectrophotometric data with spectral synthesis models. Results. Chandra data show a regular elongated morphology, closely resembling the distribution of core galaxies, with a significant cool core. We measure a global X-ray temperature of kT = 8.6 +1.3 -1.2 keV (68% confidence), which we find to be robust against several systematics involved in the X-ray spectral analysis. By detecting the rest frame 6.7 keV Iron K line in the Chandra spectrum, we measure a metallicity Z = 0.26 +0.20 -0.16 Z . In the likely hypothesis of hydrostatic equilibrium, we obtain a total mass of M tot(< 1Mpc) = (5.9 ±1.3) ×10 14 M . By modeling both the composite spectral energy distributions and spectra of the passive galaxies in and outside the core, we find a strong mean age radial gradient. Core galaxies, with stellar masses in excess of 10 11 M , appear to have formed at an earlier epoch with a relatively short star formation phase (z = 5-6), whereas passive galaxies outside the core show spectral signatures suggesting a prolonged star formation phase to redshifts as low as z ≈ 2. Conclusions. Overall, our analysis implies that XMM2235 is the hottest and most massive bona-fide cluster discovered to date at z > 1, with a baryonic content, both its galaxy population and intracluster gas, in a significantly advanced evolutionary stage at 1/3 of the current age of the Universe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-591
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Galaxies: clusters: individual: XMMU J2235.3-2557
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: high-redshift -X-rays: galaxies: clusters


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