Saturday, December 26, 2009

Missing Baryons

The Baryon Content of Cosmic Structures
We make an inventory of the baryonic and gravitating mass in structures ranging from the smallest galaxies to rich clusters of galaxies. We find that the fraction of baryons converted to stars reaches a maximum between M500 = 1E12 and 1E13 Msun, suggesting that star formation is most efficient in bright galaxies in groups. The fraction of baryons detected in all forms deviates monotonically from the cosmic baryon fraction as a function of mass. On the largest scales of clusters, most of the expected baryons are detected, while in the smallest dwarf galaxies, fewer than 1% are detected. Where these missing baryons reside is unclear.

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