Inferring the dark matter splashback radius from cluster gas and observable profiles in the FLAMINGO simulations.

Imogen Towler, Scott Kay, Joop Schaye, Roi Kugel, Matthieu Schaller, Joey Braspenning, Willem Elbers, Carlos S. Frenk, Juliana Kwan, Marcel P. van Daalen, Bert Vandenbroucke, Edoardo Altamura

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Abstract

The splashback radius, coinciding with the minimum in the dark matter radial density gradient, is thought to be a universal definition of the edge of a dark matter halo. Observational methods to detect it have traced the dark matter using weak gravitational lensing or galaxy number counts. Recent attempts have also claimed the detection of a similar feature in Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) observations of the hot intracluster gas. Here, we use the FLAMINGO simulations to investigate whether an extremum gradient in a similar position to the splashback radius is predicted to occur in the cluster gas profiles. We find that the minimum in the gradient of the stacked 3D gas density and pressure profiles, and the maximum in the gradient of the entropy profile, broadly align with the splashback feature though there are significant differences. While the dark matter splashback radius varies with specific mass accretion rate, in agreement with previous work, the radial position of the deepest minimum in the log-slope of the gas density is more sensitive to halo mass. In addition, we show that a similar minimum is also present in projected 2D pseudo-observable profiles: emission measure (X-ray); Compton-$y$ (SZ) and surface mass density (weak lensing). We find that the latter traces the dark matter results reasonably well albeit the minimum occurs at a slightly smaller radius. While results for the gas profiles are largely insensitive to accretion rate and various observable proxies for dynamical state, they do depend on the strength of the feedback processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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