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Identifying galaxy cluster centres using optical data alone

Project: 
The centres of galaxy clusters detected via their hot gas atmospheres - either through X-ray emission or the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect - are well defined. However, it is often difficult to determine the centres of clusters using optical imaging alone. The world-leading redMaPPer optical cluster finding algorithm finds significantly different cluster centre positions compared to X-ray positions ~30% of the time (Zhang et al. 2019; https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/#abs/2019arXiv190107119Z/abstract). This may have consequences for cosmology based on optically-selected clusters from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. In this project, we will develop an algorithm to determine the optical centres of SZ-selected clusters, and implement it in the zCluster code (https://github.com/ACTCollaboration/zCluster). Can we do better than redMaPPer?
Node This Project Is Offered On: 
(UKZN)

Supervisor

Matt
Hilton

Co-Supervisor

Requirements for students to address: 
Python coding skills - but of course this is a good opportunity to learn...
Research Area: 
Astrophysics


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