Enhanced destruction of cluster satellites by major mergers

Kyung Lin Dong*, Rory Smith, Jihye Shin, Reynier Peletier

*Corresponding author for this work

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Using a set of clusters in dark matter only cosmological simulations, we study the consequences of merging of clusters and groups of galaxies (with mass ratio larger than 5:1) to investigate the tidal impact of mergers on the satellite haloes. We compare our results to a control sample of clusters that have had no major mergers over the same time period. Clusters that undergo major mergers are found to have a significant enhancement in destruction of their subhaloes of ∼10–30 per cent, depending on how major the merger is. Those with mass ratios less than 7:1 showed no significant enhancement. The number of destroyed subhaloes are measured for the cluster members that were inside the virial radius of clusters before the merger begins. This means preprocessed galaxies brought in by the merger are deliberately excluded, allowing us to clearly see the enhanced destruction purely as a result of the distorted and disturbed tidal field of the cluster during the merger. We also consider secondary parameters affecting the destruction of those satellites but find that the major mergers are the dominant factor. These results highlight how major mergers can significantly impact the cluster population, with likely consequences for the formation of intracluster light, and enhancement of tidal features in the remaining satellites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9185-9191
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2024


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: groups: general


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