The Mass Distribution of the Unusual Merging Cluster Abell 2146 from Strong Lensing [CEA]

Abell 2146 consists of two galaxy clusters that have recently collided close to the plane of the sky, and it is unique in showing two large shocks on $\textit{Chandra X-ray Observatory}$ images. With an early stage merger, shortly after first core passage, one would expect the cluster galaxies and the dark matter to be leading the X-ray emitting plasma. In this regard, the cluster Abell 2146-A is very unusual in that the X-ray cool core appears to lead, rather than lag, the Brightest Cluster Galaxy (BCG) in their trajectories. Here we present a strong lensing analysis of multiple image systems identified on $\textit{Hubble Space Telescope}$ images. In particular, we focus on the distribution of mass in Abell 2146-A in order to determine the centroid of the dark matter halo. We use object colours and morphologies to identify multiple image systems; very conservatively, four of these systems are used as constraints on a lens mass model. We find that the centroid of the dark matter halo, constrained using the strongly lensed features, is coincident with the BCG, with an offset of $\approx$ 2 kpc between the centres of the dark matter halo and the BCG. Thus from the strong lensing model, the X-ray cool core also leads the centroid of the dark matter in Abell 2146-A, with an offset of $\approx$ 30 kpc.

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J. Coleman, L. King, M. Oguri, et. al.
Fri, 23 Sep 16

Comments: 13 pages, 9 figures. Accepted for publication in MNRAS