How typical is the Coma cluster?

Kevin A. Pimbblet*, Samantha J. Penny, Roger L. Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

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Coma is frequently used as the archetype z ∼ 0 galaxy cluster to compare higher redshift work against. It is not clear, however, how representative the Coma cluster is for galaxy clusters of its mass or X-ray luminosity, and significantly, recent works have suggested that the galaxy population of Coma may be in some ways anomalous. In this work, we present a comparison of Coma to an X-ray-selected control sample of clusters. We show that although Coma is typical against the control sample in terms of its internal kinematics (sub-structure and velocity dispersion profile), it has a significantly high (∼3σ) X-ray temperature set against clusters of comparable mass. By de-redshifting our control sample cluster galaxies star formation rates using a fit to the galaxy main-sequence evolution at z < 0.1, we determine that the typical star formation rate of Coma galaxies as a function of mass is higher than for galaxies in our control sample at a confidence level of >99 per cent. One way to alleviate this discrepancy and bring Coma in line with the control sample would be to have the distance to Coma to be slightly lower, perhaps through a non-negligible peculiar velocity with respect to the Hubble expansion, but we do not regard this as likely given precision measurements using a variety of approaches. Therefore, in summary, we urge caution in using Coma as a z ∼ 0 baseline cluster in galaxy evolution studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3049-3057
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date9 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2014


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: clusters: individual: Coma cluster
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters


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