Integrated HI emission in galaxy groups and clusters

Mei Ai, Ming Zhu, Jian Fu


The integrated HI emission from hierarchical structures such as groups and clusters of galaxies can be detected by FAST at intermediate redshifts. Here we propose to use FAST to study the evolution of the global HI content of clusters and groups over cosmic time by measuring their integrated HI emissions. We use the Virgo Cluster as an example to estimate the detection limit of FAST, and have estimated the integration time to detect a Virgo type cluster at different redshifts (from z = 0.1 to z = 1.5). We have also employed a semi-analytic model (SAM) to simulate the evolution of HI contents in galaxy clusters. Our simulations suggest that the HI mass of a Virgo-like cluster could be 2–3 times higher and the physical size could be more than 50% smaller when redshift increases from z = 0.3 to z = 1. Thus the integration time could be reduced significantly and gas rich clusters at intermediate redshifts can be detected by FAST in less than 2 hours of integration time. For the local Universe, we have also used SAM simulations to create mock catalogs of clusters to predict the outcomes from FAST all sky surveys. Comparing with the optically selected catalogs derived by cross matching the galaxy catalogs from the SDSS survey and the ALFALFA survey, we find that the HI mass distribution of the mock catalog with 20 s of integration time agrees well with that of observations. However, the mock catalog with 120 s of integration time predicts many more groups and clusters that contain a population of low mass HI galaxies not detected by the ALFALFA survey. A future deep HI blind sky survey with FAST would be able to test such prediction and set constraints on the numerical simulation models. The observational strategy and sample selections for future FAST observations of galaxy clusters at high redshifts are also discussed.


galaxy clusters — neutral hydrogen (HI) — galaxy evolution

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