The Fate of Gas-rich Satellites in Clusters

Mohammadtaher Safarzadeh, Evan Scannapieco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We investigate the stellar mass-loss of gas-rich galaxies falling into clusters due to the change in the gravitational potential caused by the ram-pressure-stripping of their gas. We model the satellites with exponential stellar and gas disk profiles, assume rapid ram-pressure-stripping, and follow the stellar orbits in the shocked potential. Due to the change of the potential, the stars move from circular orbits to elliptical orbits with apocenters that are often outside the tidal radius, causing those stars to be stripped. We explore the impact of the redshift of infall, gas fraction, satellite halo mass, and cluster mass on this process. The puffing of the satellites makes them appear as ultra-diffuse galaxies, and the stripped stars contribute to the intracluster light. Our results show that these effects are most significant for less massive satellites, which have larger gas fractions when they are accreted into clusters. The preferential destruction of low-mass systems causes the red fraction of cluster galaxies to be smaller at lower masses, an observation that is otherwise difficult to explain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number99
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 20 2017


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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