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Astron. Astrophys. 355, 848-862 (2000)

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Abell 521: dynamical analysis of a young cluster *

S. Maurogordato 1, D. Proust 2, T.C. Beers 3, M. Arnaud 4, R. Pelló 5, A. Cappi 6, E. Slezak 1 and J.R. Kriessler 7

1 CERGA, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, B4229, Le Mont-Gros, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France (maurogor@obs-nice.fr)
2 DAEC, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France (proust@obspm.fr)
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI 48824, USA (beers@pa.msu.edu)
4 CEA/DSM/DAPNIA/Service d'Astrophysique, CEA/Saclay, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France (arnaud@hep.saclay.cea.fr)
5 Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Avenue E.Belin, Toulouse, France (roser@astro.obs-mip.fr)
6 Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy (cappi@astbo3.bo.astro.it)
7 Department of Astronomy, University of Minnesota, 116 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA (jeffk@isis.spa.umn.edu)

Received 22 January 1999 / Accepted 4 November 1999


We present the results of a dynamical analysis of the rich X-Ray luminous galaxy cluster Abell 521, and discuss the nature of the arc-like structure first noted by Maurogordato et al. (1996). Our study is based on radial velocities for 41 cluster members, measured from spectra obtained at the European Southern Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Based on statistical analyses performed with the ROSTAT package, we find that Abell 521 is an intermediate-redshift cluster ([FORMULA] km s-1) with a rather high apparent value of the velocity dispersion [FORMULA] km s-1.

There are many indications that this cluster is presently undergoing strong dynamical evolution: a) the high value of the velocity dispersion, which cannot be explained by trivial projection effects, b) significant clumping in the two-dimensional projected positions of the galaxies in the cluster, as quantified by a mixture-model three-group partition significant at the 99 [FORMULA] level, c) the extreme value of the velocity dispersion ([FORMULA] km s-1) in a central high density NE/SW structure, d) a strong increase of the velocity dispersion as determined from the reddest and bluest galaxies, suggesting that cluster spirals are not yet virialized, e) the presence of multiple nuclei in the core of the brightest cluster galaxy as well as clear signatures of interaction effects, and f) an apparently different stellar population for the various knots of the arc candidate which changes along the structure.

The two brightest knots of the giant arc candidate are shown to be at the velocity of the cluster. The bright curved structure is thus probably due to interaction processes between the knots rather than due to strong gravitational lensing. However, gravitational lensing might be present in this cluster, as suggested by the colors of two fainter arclet-like structures.

Key words: galaxies: clusters: general – galaxies: clusters: individual: A 521 – galaxies: distances and redshifts – galaxies: kinematics and dynamics – cosmology: observations

* Based on observations made at the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and at the European Southern Observatory. CFHT is operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France, and the University of Hawaii.

Send offprint requests to: Sophie Maurogordato

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: March 21, 2000