The impact of cluster structure and dynamical state on scatter in the sunyaev-zel'dovich flux-mass relation

H. Y. Karen Yang, Suman Bhattacharya, Paul M. Ricker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cosmological constraints from cluster surveys rely on accurate mass estimates from the mass-observable relations. In order to avoid systematic biases and reduce uncertainties, we study the form and physical origin of the intrinsic scatter about the mean Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) flux-mass relation using a hydrodynamical simulation of galaxy cluster formation.We examine the assumption of lognormal scatter and detect non-negligible positive skewness and kurtosis (>0.5) for a wide range of limiting masses and redshifts. These higher order moments should be included in the parameterization of scatter in order not to bias cosmological constraints. We investigate the sources of the scatter by correlating it with measures of cluster morphology, halo concentration, and dynamical state, and quantify the individual contribution from each source.We find that statistically the impact of the dynamical state is weak, so the selection bias due to mergers is negligible. On the other hand, there is a strong correlation between the scatter and halo concentration, which can be used to reduce the scatter significantly (from 12.07% to 7.34% or by ∼40% for clusters at z = 0).We also show that a cross-calibration by combining information from X-ray follow-ups can be used to reduce the scatter in the flux-mass relation and also identify outliers in both X-ray and SZ cluster surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1124-1136
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2010


  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Intergalactic medium
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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