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Dark Energy Survey Year 1 results: detection of Intra-cluster Light at Redshift ~ 0.25

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Using data collected by the Dark Energy Survey (DES), we report the detection of intracluster light (ICL) with ~300 galaxy clusters in the redshift range of 0.2–0.3. We design methods to mask detected galaxies and stars in the images and stack the cluster light profiles, while accounting for several systematic effects (sky subtraction, instrumental point-spread function, cluster selection effects, and residual light in the ICL raw detection from background and cluster galaxies). The methods allow us to acquire high signal-to-noise measurements of the ICL and central galaxies (CGs), which we separate with radial cuts. The ICL appears as faint and diffuse light extending to at least 1 Mpc from the cluster center, reaching a surface brightness level of 30 mag arcsec−2. The ICL and the cluster CG contribute 44% ± 17% of the total cluster stellar luminosity within 1 Mpc. The ICL color is overall consistent with that of the cluster red sequence galaxies, but displays the trend of becoming bluer with increasing radius. The ICL demonstrates an interesting self-similarity feature—for clusters in different richness ranges, their ICL radial profiles are similar after scaling with cluster R 200m , and the ICL brightness appears to be a good tracer of the cluster radial mass distribution. These analyses are based on the DES redMaPPer cluster sample identified in the first year of observations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number165
Number of pages19
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2019


  • Dark Energy Survey Year 1 results

    Rights statement: Y. Zhang et al 2019 ApJ 874 165. © 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the AAS.

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