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Published September 20, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

No Evidence of Quasar-Mode Feedback in a Four-Way Group Merger at z ~ 0.84


We report on the results of a Chandra search for evidence of triggered nuclear activity within the Cl0023+0423 four-way group merger at z ~ 0.84. The system consists of four interacting galaxy groups in the early stages of hierarchical cluster formation and, as such, provides a unique look at the level of processing and evolution already under way in the group environment prior to cluster assembly. We present the number counts of X-ray point sources detected in a field covering the entire Cl0023 structure, as well as a cross-correlation of these sources with our extensive spectroscopic database. Both the redshift distribution and cumulative number counts of X-ray sources reveal little evidence to suggest that the system contains X-ray luminous active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in excess to what is observed in the field population. If preprocessing is under way in the Cl0023 system, our observations suggest that powerful nuclear activity is not the predominant mechanism quenching star formation and driving the evolution of Cl0023 galaxies. We speculate that this is due to a lack of sufficiently massive nuclear black holes required to power such activity, as previous observations have found a high late-type fraction among the Cl0023 population. It may be that disruptive AGN-driven outflows become an important factor in the preprocessing of galaxy populations only during a later stage in the evolution of such groups and structures when sufficiently massive galaxies (and central black holes) have built up, but prior to hydrodynamical processes stripping them of their gas reservoirs.

Additional Information

© 2009. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 April 9; accepted 2009 July 20; published 2009 September 1. This work is supported by the Chandra General Observing Program under award number G07-8126X. The spectrographic data used herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.

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Published - Kocevski2009p5942Astrophys_J_Lett.pdf


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