Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

David Wittman

Reader 2

Steve Naftilan

Rights Information

© 2013 Emily Q. Finney


Galaxy clusters, the most massive gravitationally bound objects in the universe, provide an important setting for exploring the structure and interactions of matter in the cosmos. When galaxy clusters merge, there is ample opportunity to examine interactions between densely-packed halos of luminous and dark matter; thus, understanding the dynamics of merging clusters provides insight into understanding properties of dark matter. This paper examines the galaxy cluster 1 RXS J0603.3+4214 (“Toothbrush Cluster”), incorporating information about the polarization of its associated radio relics into Monte Carlo simulations to constrain knowledge about its inclination angle, time since collision, and the velocity and separation distance between its subclusters. We find that the collision velocity, time since merger, and 3D separation between subclusters are well-constrained, which allows for more accurate analysis of the history of the merger. This type of constraint could be applied to a variety of merging systems. Additionally, this constraint may allow opportunity for exploring the validity of different models of dark matter.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.