Date of Award

2004

Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

Advisor

David J. Batuski

Second Committee Member

Neil F. Comins

Third Committee Member

Susan R. McKay

Abstract

We use Abell (1958) clusters of galaxies as tracers of the luminous matter distribution in the local universe. Using these clusters, we present several studies of clusters and the environments they inhabit. It is shown that wide angle tail (WAT) radio sources tend to be preferentially at high angles to the surrounding supercluster major axis. The scale at which this effect is most evident is N 14h-lMpc. We also find that the bending of WATs is at high angle to the direction of the nearest neighboring cluster. Evidence is presented for the Binggeli effect, which suggests that clusters tend to be elongated in the direction of the nearest neighbor. We also show that there is a tendency for clusters to elongate in the same direction as the supercluster major axis. In both of the effects we see a prevalent redshift dependency between 0 < z < 0.14. We discuss this dependency. We conduct a study aimed at measuring the numbers of radio sources in Abell clusters of galaxies. We find a slightly positive average number of radio sources with N, 5 0.6. We find a large dispersion in the numbers of radio sources in clusters. A Bayesian method is applied to determine whether different populations are contributing to the dispersion. Finally, we examine two proxies for cluster region density in the context of cluster radio source numbers. We also examine two estimators for cluster mass. In no case do we see any significant correlation between radio source numbers in clusters of galaxies and either cluster mass or cluster region density.

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