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Physics  2001 

Finding Galaxy Clusters using Voronoi Tessellations

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010071

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We present an objective and automated procedure for detecting clusters of galaxies in imaging galaxy surveys. Our Voronoi Galaxy Cluster Finder (VGCF) uses galaxy positions and magnitudes to find clusters and determine their main features: size, richness and contrast above the background. The VGCF uses the Voronoi tessellation to evaluate the local density and to identify clusters as significative density fluctuations above the background. The significance threshold needs to be set by the user, but experimenting with different choices is very easy since it does not require a whole new run of the algorithm. The VGCF is non-parametric and does not smooth the data. As a consequence, clusters are identified irrispective of their shape and their identification is only slightly affected by border effects and by holes in the galaxy distribution on the sky. The algorithm is fast, and automatically assigns members to structures.


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