The lensing efficiencies of MACS X-ray-selected versus RCS optically selected galaxy clusters

Assaf Horesh*, Dan Maoz, Harald Ebeling, Gregor Seidel, Matthias Bartelmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The statistics of strongly lensed arcs in samples of galaxy clusters provide information on cluster structure that is complementary to that from individual clusters. However, samples of clusters that have been analysed to date have been either small, heterogeneous or observed with limited angular resolution. We measure the lensed-arc statistics of 97 clusters imaged at high angular resolution with the Hubble Space Telescope, identifying lensed arcs using two automated arc-detection algorithms. The sample includes similar numbers of X-ray-selected [MAssive Cluster Survey (MACS)] and optically selected [Red-Sequence Cluster Survey (RCS)] clusters, and spans cluster redshifts in the range 0.2 < z < 1. We compile a catalogue of 42 arcs in the X-ray-selected subsample and seven arcs in the optical subsample. All but five of these arcs are reported here for the first time. At 0.3 ≤ z ≤ 0.7, the X-ray-selected clusters have a significantly higher mean frequency of arcs, 1.2 ± 0.2 per cluster, versus 0.2 ± 0.1 in the optical sample. The strikingly different lensing efficiencies indicate that X-ray clusters trace much larger mass concentrations, despite the similar optical luminosities of the X-ray and optical clusters. The mass difference is supported also by the lower space density of the X-ray clusters and by the small Einstein radii of the few arcs in the optical sample. Higher order effects, such as differences in concentration or substructure, may also contribute.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1318-1336
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Gravitational lensing: strong


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