On the Lambda-evolution of galaxy clusters
The evolution of galaxy clusters can be affected by the repulsion described by the cosmological constant. This conclusion is reached within the modified weak-field General Relativity approach where the cosmological constant \(\varLambda \) enables to describe the common nature of the dark matter and the dark energy. Geometrical methods of theory of dynamical systems and the Ricci curvature criterion are used to reveal the difference in the instability properties of galaxy clusters which determine their evolutionary paths. Namely, it is shown that the clusters determined by gravity with \(\varLambda \)-repulsion tend to become even more unstable than those powered only by Newtonian gravity, the effect to be felt at cosmological time scales.
The nature of the dark sector – dark matter and dark energy – remains a major puzzle for fundamental physics in spite of intense observational, experimental and theoretical investigations of the last decades. The recently sharpened H-tension, i.e. the discrepancy between the Hubble constant determinations from Planck’s data and observations at lower redshift [1, 2], activated the discussions regarding beyond \(\varLambda \)CDM and new physics [3, 4].
The modified weak-field General Relativity (GR) provides one of recent approaches to describing the dark sector [5, 6, 7]. That modification is based on Newton’s theorem on the identity of gravity of a sphere and of a point mass situated in its center and enables one to conclude to the common nature of the dark matter and dark energy, both being described by the cosmological constant [6, 7]. That approach also offers a solution to the H-tension . The cosmological constant \(\varLambda \) within that approach acts as a fundamental constant along with the gravitational constant G , with consequences also for conformal cyclic cosmology . The non-particle nature of the dark matter is concluded to in .
If the gravitational interaction at galaxy cluster scales is defined not only by an attracting force but also by a repulsive force due to the cosmological constant, then the latter can influence the evolution of galaxy clusters. Analogous modified gravity effects are among the discussed ones with respect to various astrophysical systems, from celestial mechanical scales  to those of cosmological structure formation , whereas the dedicated experimental tests of General Relativity (e.g. [14, 15]) still do not reach those effects. Other testing opportunities are provided by the lensing of galaxies [16, 17].
Here we will try to reveal a possible difference in the dynamical evolution of two types of galaxy clusters, those determined by usual Newtonian gravity (standard N-body problem) and those by modified gravity with the repulsion term. We use geometrical methods of the theory of dynamical systems [18, 19] first applied to gravitational N-body dynamics in  to describe their chaos and relaxation; for further application of those methods in General Relativity see [21, 22]. The Ricci curvature criterion of relative instability, which we use here, was introduced in  and has been applied to different types of gravitational systems (e.g. ). Our aim is not the study of entire evolution of galaxy clusters affected by modified gravity, which will need an extensive strategy of N-body simulations but to verify if the \(\varLambda \) term is able to influence the cluster dynamics and the evolution. Such an approach appears informative for nonlinear systems, as known since the renowned Fermi–Pasta–Ulam study .
The results of our analysis indicate that \(\varLambda \)-gravity does affect the instability features of galaxy clusters. We note that previously it was shown that the cosmological constant is able to introduce a time arrow for the system .
2 Newton’s theorem and \(\varLambda \)
Crucial feature of the force law of Eq. (2) is that it defines non-force-free field inside a spherical shell, contrary to Newton’s gravity law when the shell has no influence in its interior. In this regard we mention the observational indications that the galactic halos do determine the properties of galactic disks . The weak-field GR thus can be used to describe the observational features of galactic halos [5, 29], of groups and clusters of galaxies .
3 Ricci curvature
We simulated the dynamics of two types of N-body spherical systems of typical galaxy cluster parameters, one defined by Newtonian gravity, the other defined by an additional \(\varLambda \)-potential i.e. by the Lagrangian of Eq. (3). The Ricci curvature was estimated for both, to see if the instability properties of the two systems according to the criterion of Eq. (5) do reveal differences during their evolution over cosmological time scale.
The weak-field GR modified based on the Newton theorem enabled one the common description of the dark matter and dark energy [5, 6], as weak-field and cosmological manifestation of GR, respectively, both determined by the cosmological constant.
As further step to probe that GR modification, we analyzed its possible role in the evolution of the galaxy clusters, i.e. at spatial scales where the repulsive gravity term becomes non-negligible. We used the Ricci curvature criterion to follow the comparative instability of two type of spherical systems, i.e. those evolving according to modified \(\varLambda \)-gravity of Eqs. (1) and (2) with respect to usual Newtonian systems.
Our main conclusions can be formulated as follows:
(a) The studied types of systems of galaxy cluster parameters do reveal discrepancy in their instability properties during the evolution, namely, the \(\varLambda \)-modified gravity systems tend to become more unstable with respect to those described by Newtonian law. The discrepancy starts to be visible at cosmological times i.e. at time scales exceeding roughly 2 Gyr.
(b) The supercluster (Virgo) parameter systems reveal differences in their instability properties depending on their spatial scales. Namely, at distance scales where the \(\varLambda \)-term dominates over the Newtonian gravity, the systems tend to free particle systems at cosmological time scales, while at smaller distances their behavior remains unstable as of the galaxy clusters, as expected.
We note that for f(R)-gravity, “beyond Horndeski” covariant Galileon models have been already used to describe the observable features of clusters of galaxies [30, 31, 32], thus indicating the suitability of the latter for testing of modified gravity theories.
The study of the evolutionary effects of galaxy clusters at dedicated numerical simulations (including using advanced methods of the theory of dynamical systems ) can provide additional tests to \(\varLambda \)-gravity as the weak-field limit for General Relativity.
AS is partially supported by the ICTP through AF-04.
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