Published in 1999, Physics Reports, 310, 97.

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Mark Birkinshaw 1

Department of Physics, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL, UK

ABSTRACT. The Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect causes a change in the apparent brightness of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation towards a cluster of galaxies or any other reservoir of hot plasma. Measurements of the effect provide distinctly different information about cluster properties than X-ray imaging data, while combining X-ray and Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect data leads to new insights into the structures of cluster atmospheres. The effect is redshift-independent, and so provides a unique probe of the structure of the Universe on the largest scales. The present review discusses the theory of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect and collects published results for many clusters, presents the overall conclusions that may be drawn from the detections so far, and discusses the prospects for future research on the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effects.

Key Words: Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect; Clusters; Microwave Background Radiation

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1 Also Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Back.