Simulations of cm-wavelength Sunyaev-Zel'dovich galaxy cluster and point source blind sky surveys and predictions for the RT32/OCRA-f and the Hevelius 100-m radio telescope

Bartosz Lew, Mark Birkinshaw, Peter Wilkinson, Andrzej Kus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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We investigate the effectiveness of blind surveys for radio sources and galaxy cluster thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effects (TSZEs) using the four-pair, beam-switched OCRA-f radiometer on the 32-m radio telescope in Poland. The predictions are based on mock maps that include the cosmic microwave background, TSZEs from hydrodynamical simulations of large scale structure formation, and unresolved radio sources. We validate the mock maps against observational data, and examine the limitations imposed by simplified physics. We estimate the effects of source clustering towards galaxy clusters from NVSS source counts around Planck-selected cluster candidates, and include appropriate correlations in our mock maps. The study allows us to quantify the effects of halo line-of-sight alignments, source confusion, and telescope angular resolution on the detections of TSZEs. We perform a similar analysis for the planned 100-m Hevelius radio telescope (RTH) equipped with a 49-beam radio camera and operating at frequencies up to 22 GHz.We find that RT32/OCRA-f will be suitable for small-field blind radio source surveys, and will detect 33+17-11 new radio sources brighter than 0.87 mJy at 30 GHz in a 1 deg2 field at > 5σ CL during a one-year, non-continuous, observing campaign, taking account of Polish weather conditions. It is unlikely that any galaxy cluster will be detected at 3σ CL in such a survey. A 60-deg2 survey, with field coverage of 22 beams per pixel, at 15 GHz with the RTH, would find <1.5 galaxy clusters per year brighter than 60 μJy (at 3σ CL), and would detect about 3.4 × 104 point sources brighter than 1 mJy at 5σ CL, with confusion causing flux density errors 2% (20%) in 68% (95%) of the detected sources.A primary goal of the planned RTH will be a wide-area (π sr) radio source survey at 15 GHz. This survey will detect nearly 3 × 105 radio sources at 5σ CL down to 1.3 mJy, and tens of galaxy clusters, in one year of operation with typical weather conditions. Confusion will affect the measured flux densities by 1.5% (16%) for 68% (95%) of the point sources. We also gauge the impact of the RTH by investigating its performance if equipped with the existing RT32 receivers, and the performance of the RT32 equipped with the RTH radio camera.

Original languageEnglish
Article number004
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

37 pages, 17 figures, accepted for publication in JCAP


  • cosmological simulations
  • galaxy clusters
  • Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect


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