The hot circumgalactic media of massive cluster satellites in the TNG-Cluster simulation: Existence and detectability

Eric Rohr*, Annalisa Pillepich, Dylan Nelson, Mohammadreza Ayromlou, Elad Zinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The most massive galaxy clusters in the Universe host tens to hundreds of massive satellite galaxies M ~1010-12.5 M, but it is unclear if these satellites are able to retain their own gaseous atmospheres. We analyze the evolution of ≈90 000 satellites of stellar mass ~109-12.5 M around 352 galaxy clusters of mass M200c ~1014.3-15.4 M at z = 0 from the new TNG-Cluster suite of cosmological magneto-hydrodynamical galaxy cluster simulations. The number of massive satellites per host increases with host mass, and the mass- richness relation broadly agrees with observations. A halo of mass M200chost ~ 1014.5(1015) M hosts ~100 (300) satellites today. Only a minority of satellites retain some gas, hot or cold, and this fraction increases with stellar mass. lower-mass satellites ~109-10 M are more likely to retain part of their cold interstellar medium, consistent with ram pressure preferentially removing hot extended gas first. At higher stellar masses ~1010.5-12.5 M, the fraction of gas-rich satellites increases to unity, and nearly all satellites retain a sizeable portion of their hot, spatially extended circumgalactic medium (CGM), despite the ejective activity of their supermassive black holes. According to TNG-Cluster, the CGM of these gaseous satellites can be seen in soft X-ray emission (0.5-2.0 keV) that is, ≳10 times brighter than the local background. This X-ray surface brightness excess around satellites extends to ≈30-100 kpc, and is strongest for galaxies with higher stellar masses and larger host-centric distances. Approximately 10% of the soft X-ray emission in cluster outskirts ≈0.75-1.5 R200c originates from satellites. The CGM of member galaxies reflects the dynamics of cluster-satellite interactions and contributes to the observationally inferred properties of the intracluster medium.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA86
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: halos
  • Methods: numerical


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