Weak Gravitational Lensing and Cluster Mass Estimates
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Hierarchical theories of structure formation predict that clusters of galaxies should be embedded in a weblike structure, with filaments emanating from them to large distances. The amount of mass contained within such filaments near a cluster can be comparable to the collapsed mass of the cluster itself. Diffuse infalling material also contains a large amount of mass. Both of these components can contribute to the cluster weak lensing signal. This “projection bias” is maximized if a filament lies close to the line of sight to a cluster. Using large-scale numerical simulations of structure formation in a L-dominated cold dark matter model, we show that the projected mass typically exceeds the actual mass by several tens of percent. This effect is significant for attempts to estimate cluster masses through weak lensing observations and will affect weak lensing surveys aimed at constructing the cluster mass function.
The Astrophysical Journal, 520:L9-L12, 1999 July 20