AdvisorWhite, Simon D. M.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe dynamical mass determination of galaxies and systems of galaxies shows a large excess of mass above what one observes directly. This excess of mass indicates the presence of dark matter. The nature of this dark matter is still unknown and dark matter in the outer regions of large stellar structures such as clusters of galaxies might provide enough matter to close the universe. In this dissertation we investigate in detail the mass distribution of the Coma cluster. We show that optical data alone are unable to distinguish between a wide range of possible mass distribution for the Coma cluster. Low-mass models must have larger central density than high-mass models and require that the galaxies move on near-circular orbits, whereas high-mass models require the galaxy orbits to be predominantly radial. The optical data constrain the amount of dark matter very poorly. The X-ray data can also be used for a mass determination of the Coma cluster. These data may require the mass of the cluster to be more concentrated to the core than a light-traces-mass model if the central temperature of the gas is high. However, they do not put any constraint on the mass distribution beyond a Mpc or two. The above analysis, and most other approaches, assume the existence of dark matter. An alternative approach has been proposed by Milgrom (1983a,b,c): in his theory, the Newtonian law of motion breaks down in a weak field, and must be modified. The present analysis shows that this model is also consistent with optical and X-ray data on the Coma cluster, although a good fit required values for Milgrom's "universal" parameter aₒ to be 2h¹·⁵ (Hₒ = 50 h km/s/Mpc) higher than those inferred from the rotation curves of spiral galaxies. Finally, we investigate whether the model of an expanding cluster dominated by a massive binary galaxy, first suggested by Valtonen and Byrd (1979), is consistent with optical data on the surface density and velocity dispersion of the Coma cluster. We simulate the evolution of this model for a wide variety of initial conditions. We find that galaxy counts in the model can be made to agree with observation, but that the observed velocity dispersion profile cannot be reproduced. A number of other arguments suggest that the central galaxies in Coma cannot be as massive as required by the model. This model is not a viable representation of the Coma cluster.