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Simulations of galaxy clusters

Galaxy clusters represent an important link between the formation of large structures, since they formed after the collapse of first perturbations in the initial density field, and the astrophysical processes acting in their interior, such as supernova explosions or the feedback from active galactic nuclei.

Using cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of galaxy clusters and groups we can follow the evolution of the cluster as well as the physical processes occurring and affecting the properties of galaxies and the hot gas.

Left: X-ray brightness profile map of the intracluster medium for a simulated galaxy cluster (software Smac, K. Dolag)

Clusters of galaxies are currently used in cosmology as probes to constrain cosmological parameters. What we are trying to do is to understand the importance of baryon physics in modelling the clusters’ mass structure estimations, usually assessed through the scaling relations between cluster’s mass and X-ray observables, and through the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect. Thanks to these relations we can independently extract cosmological parameters and compare them with observations from radio telescopes (e.g. APEX, SPT). This kind of research is of great importance for sky surveys to come in the X-ray band (for future X-ray satellites as WFXT).

Dr. Dunja Fabjan, member of the Center of Excellence Space-SI at FMF, is currently doing research in galaxy clusters simulations. She is involved in a collaboration with the numerical astrophysics group at the University of Trieste. Simulations with the Tree-SPH Gadgetcode will run on the local cluster system Camelot.