Aims. The eROSITA Final Equatorial-Depth Survey (eFEDS), executed during the performance verification phase of the Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG)/eROSITA telescope, was completed in November 2019. One of the science goals of this survey is to demonstrate the ability of eROSITA to detect samples of clusters and groups at the final depth of the eROSITA all-sky survey.
Methods. Because of the sizeable (≈26″ HEW FOV average) point-spread function of eROSITA, high-redshift clusters of galaxies or compact nearby groups hosting bright active galactic nuclei (AGN) can be misclassified as point sources by the source detection algorithms. A total of 346 galaxy clusters and groups in the redshift range of 0.1 < z < 1.3 were identified based on their red sequenc in the eFEDS point source catalog.
Results. We examine the multiwavelength properties of these clusters and groups to understand the potential biases in our selection process and the completeness of the extent-selected sample. We find that the majority of the clusters and groups in the point source sample are indeed underluminous and compact compared to the extent-selected sample. Their faint X-ray emission, well below the flux limit of the extent-selected eFEDS clusters, and their compact X-ray emission are likely to be the main reason for this misclassification. In the sample, we confirm that 10% of the sources host AGN in their brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) through optical spectroscopy and visual inspection. By studying their X-ray, optical, infrared, and radio properties, we establish a method for identifying clusters and groups that host AGN in their BCGs. We successfully test this method on the current point source catalog through the Sloan Digital Sky Survey optical spectroscopy and find eight low-mass clusters and groups with active radio-loud AGN that are particularly bright in the infrared. They include eFEDS J091437.8+024558, eFEDS J083520.1+012516, and eFEDS J092227.1+043339 at redshifts 0.3−0.4.
Conclusions. This study helps us to characterize and understand our selection process and assess the completeness of the eROSITA extent-selected samples. The method we developed will be used to identify high-redshift clusters, AGN-dominated groups, and low-mass clusters that are misclassified in the future eROSITA all-sky survey point source catalogs.