The mid-infrared environments of high-redshift radio galaxies
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Taking advantage of the impressive sensitivity of Spitzer to detect massive galaxies at high redshift, we study the mid-infrared environments of powerful, high-redshift radio galaxies at 1.2 < z < 3. Galaxy cluster member candidates were isolated using a single Spitzer/IRAC mid-infrared color criterion, [3.6]-[4.5] > –0.1 (AB), in the fields of 48 radio galaxies at 1.2 < z < 3. Using a counts-in-cell analysis, we identify a field as overdense when 15 or more red IRAC sources are found within 1' (i.e., 0.5 Mpc at 1.2 < z < 3) of the radio galaxy to the 5σ flux density limits of our IRAC data (f 4.5 = 13.4 μJy). We find that radio galaxies lie preferentially in medium to dense regions, with 73% of the targeted fields denser than average. Our (shallow) 120 s data permit the rediscovery of previously known clusters and protoclusters associated with radio galaxies as well as the discovery of new promising galaxy cluster candidates at z > 1.2.
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