SUbstructure in the cold front cluster abell 3667

Matt S. Owers*, Warrick J. Couch, Paul E J Nulsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


We present evidence for the existence of significant substructure in the cold front cluster Abell 3667 based on multiobject spectroscopy taken with the 3.9 m Anglo-Australian Telescope. This paper is the second in a series analyzing the relationship between cold fronts observed in Chandra X-ray images and merger activity observed at optical wavelengths. We have obtained 910 galaxy redshifts in the field of Abell 3667 out to 3.5 Mpc, of which 550 are confirmed cluster members, more than doubling the number of spectroscopically confirmed members previously available and probing some 3 mag down the luminosity function. From this sample, we derive a cluster redshift of z = 0.0553 ± 0.0002 and velocity dispersion of 1056 ± 38 km s-1 and use a number of statistical tests to search for substructure. We find significant evidence for substructure in the spatial distribution of member galaxies and also in the localized velocity distributions and, in spite of this evidence, find the global velocity distribution does not deviate significantly from a Gaussian. Using combined spatial and velocity information, we found the cluster can be separated into two major structures, with roughly equal velocity dispersions, but offset in peculiar velocity from each other by 500 km s -1, and a number of minor substructures. We propose two scenarios which explain the radio and X-ray observations. Our data show the cold front is directly related to cluster merger activity, and also highlights the extent of optical data required to unambiguously detect the presence of substructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-913
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: clusters
  • individual (Abell 3667)


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