Why does the environmental influence on group and cluster galaxies extend beyond the virial radius?
In the local Universe, galaxies in groups and clusters contain less gas and are less likely to be forming stars than their field counterparts. This effect is not limited to the central group/cluster regions, but is shown by recent observations to persist out to several virial radii. To gain insight into the extent and cause of this large-scale environmental influence, we use a suite of high-resolution cosmological hydrodynamic simulations to analyse galaxies around simulated groups and clusters of a wide range of mass (log M/M_sun = [13.0, 15.2]). In qualitative agreement with the observations, we find a systematic depletion of both hot and cold gas and a decline in the star forming fraction of galaxies as far out as ~ 5 r200 from the host centre. While a substantial fraction of these galaxies are on highly elliptical orbits and are not infalling for the first time (~ 50 per cent at 2 r200, independent of host mass) or are affected by `pre-processing' (less than 10 per cent of galaxies around groups, increasing to ~ 50 per cent around a massive cluster), even a combination of these indirect mechanisms does not fully account for the environmental influence, particularly in the case of the hot gas content. Direct ram pressure interaction with an extended gas `halo' surrounding groups and clusters is shown to be sufficiently strong to strip the hot gas atmospheres of infalling galaxies out to ~ 5 r200. We show that this influence is highly anisotropic, with ram pressure along filaments enhanced by up to a factor of 100 despite significant co-flow of gas and galaxies.