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Ks-band luminosity function of the z=1.237 cluster of galaxies RDCS J1252.9-2927

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DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030621
arXiv ID: astro-ph/0404474
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We derive the Ks-band luminosity function (LF) of the z=1.237 massive X-ray luminous cluster of galaxies RDCS J1252.9-2927. Photometric redshifts, derived from deep multi-wavelength BVRIzJKs data, and calibrated using a large subset of galaxies with spectroscopic redshifts, are used to separate the cluster galaxy population from the foreground and background field galaxy population. This allows for a simultaneous determination of the characteristic magnitude Ks* and faint end slope alpha of the LF without having to make an uncertain statistical background subtraction. The shape of the bright end of the derived LF is similar to that measured at similar restframe wavelengths (in the z-band) in local clusters, but the characteristic magnitude is brighter by Delta Mz*=-1.40(+0.49/-0.58) magnitudes, suggesting that the massive cluster ellipticals that dominate the bright end of the LF were already in place at z=1.237. The derived alpha is shallower (at the 2.2 sigma level) than the value measured in the z-band in clusters in the local universe, suggesting that RDCS J1252.9-2927 contains a relatively smaller fraction of low mass galaxies than clusters in the local universe. The results presented in this paper are a challenge for semi analytical hierarchical models of galaxy formation which predict the characteristic magnitude to grow fainter and the faint end slope to steepen with redshift as the massive galaxies break up into their progenitors. The observed evolution is consistent with a scenario in which clusters are composed of a population of massive galaxies which formed at high redshift (z>>1) and subsequently evolved passively, and a population of lower mass galaxies which are gradually accreted from the field, primarily at lower redshift (z<1). (Abridged)


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