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Physics  2002 

Cluster-Cluster Microlensing as a Probe of Intracluster Stars, MACHOs, and Remnants of the First Generation Stars

DOI: 10.1086/346205

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The galaxy cluster Abell 2152 is recently found to be forming a cluster-cluster system with another, more distant cluster whose core is almost perfectly aligned to that of A2152. We discuss the detectability of microlensing events where a single star in the source cluster behind A2152 is extremely magnified by an intracluster compact object in A2152. We show that a search with an 8m-class telescope with a wide field of view, such as the Subaru/Suprime-Cam, can probe intracluster compact objects with a wide mass range of m_{co} ~ 10^{-5}-10^{10} M_sun, including ranges that have not yet been constrained by any past observations. We expect that the event rate is biased for the background cluster than the foreground cluster (A2152), which would be a unique signature of microlensing, making this experiment particularly powerful. The sensitivity of this experiment for the mass fraction of compact objects would be 1-10% in the total dark matter of the cluster, which is roughly constant against m_{co}, with a reasonable telescope time for large telescopes (~10 nights). Therefore any compact objects in this mass range can be detected or rejected as the dominant component of the dark matter. About 10 events are expected if 20% of the cluster mass is in a form of compact objects with M ~ 1 M_sun, as claimed by the MACHO collaboration for the Milky Way halo. Other possibly detectable targets include intracluster stars stripped by galaxy interactions, and hypothetical very massive black holes (M >~ 100 M_sun) produced as remnants of the first generation stars, which might be responsible for the recently reported excess of the cosmic infrared background radiation that seems impossible to explain by normal galactic light.


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