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Cosmological Simulations of Galaxy Clusters

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We review recent progress in the description of the formation and evolution of galaxy clusters in a cosmological context by using state-of-art numerical simulations. We focus our presentation on the comparison between simulated and observed X-ray properties, while we will also discuss numerical predictions on properties of the galaxy population in clusters, as observed in the optical band. Many of the salient observed properties of clusters, such as scaling relations between X-ray observables and total mass, radial profiles of entropy and density of the intracluster gas, and radial distribution of galaxies are reproduced quite well. In particular, the outer regions of cluster at radii beyond about 10 per cent of the virial radius are quite regular and exhibit scaling with mass remarkably close to that expected in the simplest case in which only the action of gravity determines the evolution of the intra-cluster gas. However, simulations generally fail at reproducing the observed “cool core” structure of clusters: simulated clusters generally exhibit a significant excess of gas cooling in their central regions, which causes both an overestimate of the star formation in the cluster centers and incorrect temperature and entropy profiles. The total baryon fraction in clusters is below the mean universal value, by an amount which depends on the cluster-centric distance and the physics included in the simulations, with interesting tensions between observed stellar and gas fractions in clusters and predictions of simulations. Besides their important implications for the cosmological application of clusters, these puzzles also point towards the important role played by additional physical processes, beyond those already included in the simulations. We review the role played by these processes, along with the difficulty for their implementation, and discuss the outlook for the future progress in numerical modeling of clusters.
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Keywords: ASTROPHYSICS; COMPUTER SCIENCE; COSMOLOGY; FLUID DYNAMICS

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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  • ADVANCED SCIENCE LETTERS is an international peer-reviewed journal with a very wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all areas of (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Mathematical Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Computer and Information Sciences, and (6) Geosciences to publish original short communications, full research papers and timely brief (mini) reviews with authors photo and biography encompassing the basic and applied research and current developments in educational aspects of these scientific areas.
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