2.3 Euclid dark matter studies: wide-field X-ray complementarity

The predominant extragalactic X-ray sources are AGNs and galaxy clusters. For dark matter studies the latter are the more interesting targets. X-rays from clusters are emitted as thermal bremsstrahlung by the hot intracluster medium (ICM) which contains most of the baryons in the cluster. The thermal pressure of the ICM supports it against gravitational collapse so that measuring the temperature through X-ray observations provides information about the mass of the cluster and its distribution. Hence, X-rays form a complementary probe of the dark matter in clusters to Euclid weak lensing measurements.

The ongoing X-ray missions XMM-Newton and Chandra have good enough angular resolution to measure the temperature and mass profiles in ∼ 10 radial bins for clusters at reasonable redshifts, although this requires long exposures. Many planned X-ray missions aim to improve the spectral coverage, spectral resolution, and/or collection area of the present mission, but they are nonetheless mostly suited for targeted observations of individual objects. Two notable exceptions are eROSITA12 [207, launch 2014] and the Wide Field X-ray Telescope13 [WFXT 390, 931, 789, 773, 152, 790, proposed] which will both conduct full sky surveys and, in the case of WFXT, also smaller but deeper surveys of large fractions of the sky.

A sample of high-angular resolution X-ray cluster observations can be used to test the prediction from N-body simulations of structure formation that dark matter haloes are described by the NFW profile [684] with a concentration parameter c. This describes the steepness of the profile, which is related to the mass of the halo [685]. Weak or strong lensing measurements of the mass profile, such as those that will be provided from Euclid, can supplement the X-ray measurement and have different systematics. Euclid could provide wide field weak lensing data for such a purpose with very good point spread function (PSF) properties, but it is likely that the depth of the Euclid survey will make dedicated deep field observations a better choice for a lensing counterpart to the X-ray observations. However, if the WFXT mission becomes a reality, the sheer number of detected clusters with mass profiles would mean Euclid could play a much more important rôle.

X-ray observations of galaxy clusters can constrain cosmology by measuring the geometry of the universe through the baryon fraction fgas [26] or by measuring the growth of structures by determining the high-mass tail of the mass function [622]. The latter method would make the most of the large number of clusters detected in full-sky surveys and there would be several benefits by combining an X-ray and a lensing survey. It is not immediately clear which type of survey would be able to better detect clusters at various redshifts and masses, and the combination of the two probes could improve understanding of the sample completeness. An X-ray survey alone cannot measure cluster masses with the required precision for cosmology. Instead, it requires a calibrated relation between the X-ray temperature and the cluster mass. Such a calibration, derived from a large sample of clusters, could be provided by Euclid. In any case, it is not clear yet whether the large size of a Euclid sample would be more beneficial than deeper observations of fewer clusters.

Finally, X-ray observations can also confirm the nature of possible ‘bullet-like’ merging clusters. In such systems the shock of the collision has displaced the ICM from the dark matter mass, which is identified through gravitational lensing. This offers the opportunity to study dark matter haloes with very few baryons and, e.g., search for signatures of decaying or annihilating dark matter.

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