Discovery of an HI-rich Gas Reservoir in the Outskirts of SZ-effect Selected Clusters
, , , , and .
(2017)cite arxiv:1708.02600Comment: Accepted for publication in ApJ Letters (6 pages).

We report on the detection of three strong HI absorbers originating in the outskirts (i.e., impact parameter, $\rho_cl (1.6-4.7) r_500$) of three massive ($M_500\sim3\times10^14 M_ødot$) clusters of galaxies at redshift $z_cl 0.46$, in the $Hubble Space Telescope$ Cosmic Origins Spectrograph ($HST$/COS) spectra of 3 background UV-bright quasars. These clusters were discovered by the 2500 deg$^2$ South Pole Telescope Sunyaev$-$Zel'dovich (SZ) effect survey. All three COS spectra show partial Lyman limit absorber with $N(HI) > 10^16.5 \ cm^-2$ near the photometric redshifts ($|\Delta z/(1+z)| 0.03$) of the clusters. The compound probability of random occurrence of all three absorbers is $<0.02$%, indicating that the absorbers are most likely related to the targeted clusters. We find that the outskirts of these SZ-selected clusters are remarkably rich in cool gas compared to existing observations of other clusters in the literature. The effective Doppler parameters of the Lyman series lines, obtained using single cloud curve-of-growth (COG) analysis, suggest a non-thermal/turbulent velocity of a few $\times10 \ km s^-1$ in the absorbing gas. We emphasize the need for uniform galaxy surveys around these fields and for more UV observations of QSO-cluster pairs in general in order to improve the statistics and gain further insights into the unexplored territory of the largest collapsed cosmic structures.
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