Cluster Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect scaling relations

Ian G. McCarthy, Arif Babul, Gilbert P. Holder, Michael L. Balogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


X-ray observations of an "entropy floor" in nearby groups and clusters of galaxies offer evidence that important nongravitational processes, such as radiative cooling and/or "preheating," have strongly influenced the evolution of the intracluster medium (ICM). We examine how the presence of an entropy floor modifies the thermal Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect. A detailed analysis of scaling relations between X-ray and SZ effect observables and also between the two primary SZ effect observables is presented. We find that relationships between the central Compton parameter and the temperature or mass of a cluster are extremely sensitive to the presence of an entropy floor. The same is true for correlations between the integrated Compton parameter and the X-ray luminosity or the central Compton parameter. In fact, if the entropy floor is as high as inferred in recent analyses of X-ray data, a comparison of these correlations with both current and future SZ effect observations should show a clear signature of this excess entropy. Moreover, because the SZ effect is redshift independent, the relations can potentially be used to track the evolution of the cluster gas and possibly discriminate between the possible sources of the excess entropy. To facilitate comparisons with observations, we provide analytic fits to these scaling relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-525
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jul 10 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmic microwave background
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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