Aims. We present the detection, identification and calibration of extended sources in the deepest X-ray dataset to date, the Extended Chandra Deep Field South (ECDF-S). Methods. Ultra-deep observations of ECDF-S with Chandra and XMM-Newton enable a search for extended X-ray emission down to an unprecedented flux of 2 × 10-16 ergs? s-1 cm-2. By using simulations and comparing them with the Chandra and XMM data, we show that it is feasible to probe extended sources of this flux level, which is 10? 000 times fainter than the first X-ray group catalogs of the ROSAT all sky survey. Extensive spectroscopic surveys at the VLT and Magellan have been completed, providing spectroscopic identification of galaxy groups to high redshifts. Furthermore, available HST imaging enables a weak-lensing calibration of the group masses. Results. We present the search for the extended emission on spatial scales of 32″ in both Chandra and XMM data, covering 0.3 square degrees and model the extended emission on scales of arcminutes. We present a catalog of 46 spectroscopically identified groups, reaching a redshift of 1.6. We show that the statistical properties of ECDF-S, such as log? N - log? S and X-ray luminosity function are broadly consistent with LCDM, with the exception that dn/dz/dΩ test reveals that a redshift range of 0.2 < z < 0.5 in ECDF-S is sparsely populated. The lack of nearby structure, however, makes studies of high-redshift groups particularly easier both in X-rays and lensing, due to a lower level of clustered foreground. We present one and two point statistics of the galaxy groups as well as weak-lensing analysis to show that the detected low-luminosity systems are indeed low-mass systems. We verify the applicability of the scaling relations between the X-ray luminosity and the total mass of the group, derived for the COSMOS survey to lower masses and higher redshifts probed by ECDF-S by means of stacked weak lensing and clustering analysis, constraining any possible departures to be within 30% in mass. Conclusions. Ultra-deep X-ray surveys uniquely probe the low-mass galaxy groups across a broad range of redshifts. These groups constitute the most common environment for galaxy evolution. Together with the exquisite data set available in the best studied part of the Universe, the ECDF-S group catalog presented here has an exceptional legacy value.
- Gravitational lensing: weak
- Large-scale structure of Universe
- X-rays: galaxies: clusters