The relation between cool cluster cores and Herschel-detected star formation in brightest cluster galaxies

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We present far-infrared (FIR) analysis of 68 brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) at 0.08 < z < 1.0. Deriving total infrared luminosities directly from Spitzer and Herschel photometry spanning the peak of the dust component (24-500 μm), we calculate the obscured star formation rate (SFR). 22^+6.2 _–5.3% of the BCGs are detected in the far-infrared, with SFR = 1-150 M ☉ yr^–1. The infrared luminosity is highly correlated with cluster X-ray gas cooling times for cool-core clusters (gas cooling time <1 Gyr), strongly suggesting that the star formation in these BCGs is influenced by the cluster-scale cooling process. The occurrence of the molecular gas tracing Hα emission is also correlated with obscured star formation. For all but the most luminous BCGs (L_TIR > 2 × 10^11 L_☉), only a small (≤0.4 mag) reddening correction is required for SFR(Hα) to agree with SFR_FIR. The relatively low Hα extinction (dust obscuration), compared to values reported for the general star-forming population, lends further weight to an alternate (external) origin for the cold gas. Finally, we use a stacking analysis of non-cool-core clusters to show that the majority of the fuel for star formation in the FIR-bright BCGs is unlikely to originate from normal stellar mass loss.
© 2012 The American Astronomical Society. Artículo firmado por 15 autores. This work is partially based on observations made with the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency Cornerstone Mission with significant participation by NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech. We also thank the HSC and NHSC consortia for support with data reduction. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. G. P. S. acknowledges support from the Royal Society.
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