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S. M. Molnar (NASA/GSFC/LHEA, NRC), R. F. Mushotzky (NASA/GSFC/LHEA)
We discuss the possibility of constraining cosmological parameters using the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect and thermal bremsstrahlung caused by intra-cluster gas in clusters of galaxies. The new generation of X-ray satellites and ground based interferometers dedicated to SZ observations will enable us to reduce uncertainties in these measurements, and thus make this method potentially one of the most promising ones in the near future. We estimate the accuracy we will be able to achieve in the determination of the matter density, \Omegam, the cosmological constant, \Omega\Lambda, and the Hubble constant, h, using the redshift dependence of the angular diameter distance derived from observations in the near future. We demonstrate that constraints from the angular diameter distance are orthogonal to those from cosmic microwave background fluctuations in the parameter space defined by \Omegam, \Omega\Lambda and h. We show that, with as few as fifty clusters between redshifts 0.01 and 1.5 with an assumed 10% statistical error in the angular diameter distance determination, one can distinguish between models with zero cosmological constant and spatially flat models with cosmological constant with high confidence level.
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