``Galaxy Cluster Baryon Fractions, Cluster Surveys and Cosmology''

Manuscript: Postscript, PDF


The properties of nearby galaxy clusters limit the range of cosmological parameters consistent with our universe. We describe the limits which arise from studies of the intracluster medium (ICM) mass fraction fICM and consideration of the possible sources of systematic error: Omega_M<0.44h_{50}^{-1/2} at 95% confidence. We emphasize that independent of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) observations, this cluster study, taken together with published cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropy studies, indicates a non-zero quintessence or dark energy component Omega_Q>0.

We then discuss future galaxy cluster surveys which will probe the abundance of galaxy clusters to intermediate and high redshift. We investigate the sensitivity of these surveys to the cosmological density parameter Omega_M and the equation of state parameter w of any quintessence component. In particular, we show that cluster survey constraints from a proposed large solid angle X-ray survey are comparable in precision and complementary in nature to constraints expected from future CMB anisotropy and SNe Ia studies.