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Galaxy Merger Candidates in High-redshift Cluster Environments

Delahaye, A. G. and Webb, T. M. A. and Nantais, J. and DeGroot, A. and Wilson, G. and Muzzin, A. and Yee, H. K. C. and Foltz, R. and Noble, A. G. and Demarco, R. and Tudorica, A. and Cooper, M. C. and Lidman, C. and Perlmutter, S. and Hayden, B. and Boone, K. and Surace, J. (2017) Galaxy Merger Candidates in High-redshift Cluster Environments. Astrophysical Journal, 843 (2). Art. No. 126. ISSN 1538-4357. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa756a.

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We compile a sample of spectroscopically and photometrically selected cluster galaxies from four high-redshift galaxy clusters (1.59 < z < 1.71) from the Spitzer Adaptation of the Red-Sequence Cluster Survey (SpARCS), and a comparison field sample selected from the UKIDSS Deep Survey. Using near-infrared imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope, we classify potential mergers involving massive (M* ⩾ 3 x 10^(10) M⊙) cluster members by eye, based on morphological properties such as tidal distortions, double nuclei, and projected near neighbors within 20 kpc. With a catalog of 23 spectroscopic and 32 photometric massive cluster members across the four clusters and 65 spectroscopic and 26 photometric comparable field galaxies, we find that after taking into account contamination from interlopers, 11.0^(+7.0)_(-5.6)% of the cluster members are involved in potential mergers, compared to 24.7^(+5.3)_(-4.6)% of the field galaxies. We see no evidence of merger enhancement in the central cluster environment with respect to the field, suggesting that galaxy–galaxy merging is not a stronger source of galaxy evolution in cluster environments compared to the field at these redshifts.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Muzzin, A.0000-0002-9330-9108
Noble, A. G.0000-0003-1832-4137
Demarco, R.0000-0003-3921-2177
Cooper, M. C.0000-0003-1371-6019
Lidman, C.0000-0003-1731-0497
Hayden, B.0000-0001-9200-8699
Surace, J.0000-0001-7291-0087
Additional Information:© 2017 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2017 February 16; revised 2017 May 25; accepted 2017 May 26; published 2017 July 12. Based in part on observations obtained with MegaPrime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de lUnivers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, and the University of Hawaii. This work is based in part on data products produced at TERAPIX and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre as part of the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey, a collaborative project of NRC and CNRS. The author would like to thank the anonymous referee for helpful comments and suggestions. The author also thanks J. Lowenthal for constructive discussions and assistance, as well as P. Scholz for aiding the analysis. This work is based in part on observations taken by the 3D-HST Treasury Program (GO 12177 and 12328) with the NASA/ESA HST, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. T.W. acknowledges the support of an NSERC Discovery Grant. G.W. acknowledges financial support for this work from NSF grant AST-1517863 and from NASA through programs GO-13306, GO-13677, GO-13747, and GO-13845/14327 from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. J.N. acknowledges support from Universidad Andres Bello internal research project DI-18-17/RG. M.C.C. acknowledges support for this work from NSF grant AST-1518257 and from NASA through grants GO-12547, AR-13242, and AR-14289 from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. R.D. gratefully acknowledges the support provided by the BASAL Center for Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (CATA), and by FONDECYT grant No. 1130528. Software: AstroDrizzle (, Astropy (
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Universidad Andres BelloDI-18-17/RG
BASAL Center for Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (CATA)UNSPECIFIED
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT)1130528
Subject Keywords:clusters: general – galaxies: evolution – galaxies: high-redshift – galaxies: interactions
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170712-094934260
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:A. G. Delahaye et al 2017 ApJ 843 126
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79004
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Jul 2017 17:05
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:44

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