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Cluster mass profiles are tests of models of structure formation. Only two current observational methods of determining the mass profile, gravitational lensing, and the caustic technique are independent of the assumption of dynamical equilibrium. Both techniques enable the determination of the extended mass profile at radii beyond the virial radius. For 19 clusters, we compare the mass profile based on the caustic technique with weak lensing measurements taken from the literature. This comparison offers a test of systematic issues in both techniques. Around the virial radius, the two methods of mass estimation agree to within ~30%, consistent with the expected errors in the individual techniques. At small radii, the caustic technique overestimates the mass as expected from numerical simulations. The ratio between the lensing profile and the caustic mass profile at these radii suggests that the weak lensing profiles are a good representation of the true mass profile. At radii larger than the virial radius, the extrapolated Navarro, Frenk & White fit to the lensing mass profile exceeds the caustic mass profile. Contamination of the lensing profile by unrelated structures within the lensing kernel may be an issue in some cases; we highlight the clusters MS0906+11 and A750, superposed along the line of sight, to illustrate the potential seriousness of contamination of the weak lensing signal by these unrelated structures.

Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal





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Article ID. 58

Required Publisher's Statement

2013. The American Astronomical Society