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Title: MERGING COLD FRONTS IN THE GALAXY PAIR NGC 7619 AND NGC 7626

Abstract

We present results from Chandra observations of the galaxy pair NGC 7619 and NGC 7626, the two dominant members of the Pegasus group. The X-ray images show a brightness edge associated with each galaxy, which we identify as merger cold fronts. The edges are sharp, and the axes of symmetry of the edges are roughly antiparallel, suggesting that these galaxies are falling toward one another in the plane of the sky. The detection of merger cold fronts in each of the two dominant member galaxies implies a merging subgroup scenario, since the alternative is that the galaxies are falling into a preexisting {approx}1 keV halo without a dominant galaxy of its own, and such objects are not observed. We estimate the three-dimensional velocities from the cold fronts and, using the observed radial velocities of the galaxies, show that the velocity vectors are indeed most likely close to the plane of the sky, with a relative velocity of {approx}1190 km s{sup -1}. The relative velocity is consistent with what is expected from the infall of two roughly equal mass subgroups whose total viral mass equals that of the Pegasus group. We conclude that the Pegasus cluster is most likely currently formingmore » from a major merger of two subgroups, dominated by NGC 7619 and NGC 7626. NGC 7626 contains a strong radio source, consisting of a core with two symmetric jets, and radio lobes. Although we find no associated structure in the X-ray surface brightness map, the temperature map reveals a clump of cool gas just outside the southern lobe, presumably entrained by the lobe, and possibly an extension of cooler gas into the lobe itself. The jet axis is parallel with the projected direction of motion of NGC 7626 (inferred from the symmetry axis of the merger cold front), and the southern leading jet is foreshortened as compared to the northern trailing one, possibly due to the additional ram pressure encountered by the forward jet.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21300677
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 696; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/696/2/1431; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; 99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; BRIGHTNESS; GALAXY CLUSTERS; JETS; MAPS; MASS; RADIAL VELOCITY; SYMMETRY; X-RAY GALAXIES

Citation Formats

Randall, S. W., Jones, C., Kraft, R., Forman, W. R., and O'Sullivan, E. MERGING COLD FRONTS IN THE GALAXY PAIR NGC 7619 AND NGC 7626. United States: N. p., 2009. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/696/2/1431; COUNTRY OF INPUT: INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA).
Randall, S. W., Jones, C., Kraft, R., Forman, W. R., & O'Sullivan, E. MERGING COLD FRONTS IN THE GALAXY PAIR NGC 7619 AND NGC 7626. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/696/2/1431; COUNTRY OF INPUT: INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA).
Randall, S. W., Jones, C., Kraft, R., Forman, W. R., and O'Sullivan, E. 2009. "MERGING COLD FRONTS IN THE GALAXY PAIR NGC 7619 AND NGC 7626". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/696/2/1431; COUNTRY OF INPUT: INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA).
@article{osti_21300677,
title = {MERGING COLD FRONTS IN THE GALAXY PAIR NGC 7619 AND NGC 7626},
author = {Randall, S. W. and Jones, C. and Kraft, R. and Forman, W. R. and O'Sullivan, E.},
abstractNote = {We present results from Chandra observations of the galaxy pair NGC 7619 and NGC 7626, the two dominant members of the Pegasus group. The X-ray images show a brightness edge associated with each galaxy, which we identify as merger cold fronts. The edges are sharp, and the axes of symmetry of the edges are roughly antiparallel, suggesting that these galaxies are falling toward one another in the plane of the sky. The detection of merger cold fronts in each of the two dominant member galaxies implies a merging subgroup scenario, since the alternative is that the galaxies are falling into a preexisting {approx}1 keV halo without a dominant galaxy of its own, and such objects are not observed. We estimate the three-dimensional velocities from the cold fronts and, using the observed radial velocities of the galaxies, show that the velocity vectors are indeed most likely close to the plane of the sky, with a relative velocity of {approx}1190 km s{sup -1}. The relative velocity is consistent with what is expected from the infall of two roughly equal mass subgroups whose total viral mass equals that of the Pegasus group. We conclude that the Pegasus cluster is most likely currently forming from a major merger of two subgroups, dominated by NGC 7619 and NGC 7626. NGC 7626 contains a strong radio source, consisting of a core with two symmetric jets, and radio lobes. Although we find no associated structure in the X-ray surface brightness map, the temperature map reveals a clump of cool gas just outside the southern lobe, presumably entrained by the lobe, and possibly an extension of cooler gas into the lobe itself. The jet axis is parallel with the projected direction of motion of NGC 7626 (inferred from the symmetry axis of the merger cold front), and the southern leading jet is foreshortened as compared to the northern trailing one, possibly due to the additional ram pressure encountered by the forward jet.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/696/2/1431; COUNTRY OF INPUT: INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA)},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 2,
volume = 696,
place = {United States},
year = 2009,
month = 5
}
  • We present results from two {approx}30 ks Chandra observations of the hot atmospheres of the merging galaxy groups centered around NGC 7618 and UGC 12491. Our images show the presence of arc-like sloshing cold fronts (CFs) wrapped around each group center and {approx}100 kpc long spiral tails in both groups. Most interestingly, the CFs are highly distorted in both groups, exhibiting 'wings' along the fronts. These features resemble the structures predicted from non-viscous hydrodynamic simulations of gas sloshing, where Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities (KHIs) distort the CFs. This is in contrast to the structure seen in many other sloshing and merger CFs,more » which are smooth and featureless at the current observational resolution. Both magnetic fields and viscosity have been invoked to explain the absence of KHIs in these smooth CFs, but the NGC 7618/UGC 12491 pair are two in a growing number of both sloshing and merger CFs that appear distorted. Magnetic fields and/or viscosity may be able to suppress the growth of KHIs at the CFs in some clusters and groups, but clearly not in all. We propose that the presence or absence of KHI distortions in CFs can be used as a measure of the effective viscosity and/or magnetic field strengths in the intracluster medium.« less
  • Cold fronts (CFs)-density and temperature plasma discontinuities-are ubiquitous in cool cores of galaxy clusters, where they appear as X-ray brightness edges in the intracluster medium, nearly concentric with the cluster center. We analyze the thermodynamic profiles deprojected across core CFs found in the literature. While the pressure appears continuous across these CFs, we find that all of them require significant centripetal acceleration beneath the front. This is naturally explained by a tangential, nearly sonic bulk flow just below the CF, and a tangential shear flow involving a fair fraction of the plasma beneath the front. Such shear should generate near-equipartitionmore » magnetic fields on scales {approx}<50pc from the front and could magnetize the entire core. Such fields would explain the apparent stability of cool core CFs and the recently reported CF-radio minihalo association.« less
  • We examine the incidence of cold fronts in a large sample of galaxy clusters extracted from a (512 h {sup -1} Mpc) hydrodynamic/N-body cosmological simulation with adiabatic gas physics computed with the Enzo adaptive mesh refinement code. This simulation contains a sample of roughly 4000 galaxy clusters with M {>=}10{sup 14} M{sub sun} at z = 0. For each simulated galaxy cluster, we have created mock 0.3-8.0 keV X-ray observations and spectroscopic-like temperature maps. We have searched these maps with a new automated algorithm to identify the presence of cold fronts in projection. Using a threshold of a minimum ofmore » 10 cold front pixels in our images, corresponding to a total comoving length L{sub cf}>156 h {sup -1} kpc, we find that roughly 10%-12% of all projections in a mass-limited sample would be classified as cold front clusters. Interestingly, the fraction of clusters with extended cold front features in our synthetic maps of a mass-limited sample trends only weakly with redshift out to z = 1.0. However, when using different selection functions, including a simulated flux limit, the trending with redshift changes significantly. The likelihood of finding cold fronts in the simulated clusters in our sample is a strong function of cluster mass. In clusters with M>7.5 x 10{sup 14} M{sub sun} the cold front fraction is 40%-50%. We also show that the presence of cold fronts is strongly correlated with disturbed morphology as measured by quantitative structure measures. Finally, we find that the incidence of cold fronts in the simulated cluster images is strongly dependent on baryonic physics.« less
  • We present a combined X-ray, optical, and radio analysis of the galaxy group IC 1860 using the currently available Chandra and XMM data, multi-object spectroscopy data from the literature, and Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) data. The Chandra and XMM imaging and spectroscopy reveal two surface brightness discontinuities at 45 and 76 kpc shown to be consistent with a pair of cold fronts. These features are interpreted as due to sloshing of the central gas induced by an off-axis minor merger with a perturber. This scenario is further supported by the presence of a peculiar velocity of the central galaxymore » IC 1860 and the identification of a possible perturber in the optically disturbed spiral galaxy IC 1859. The identification of the perturber is consistent with the comparison with numerical simulations of sloshing. The GMRT observation at 325 MHz shows faint, extended radio emission contained within the inner cold front, as seen in some galaxy clusters hosting diffuse radio mini-halos. However, unlike mini-halos, no particle reacceleration is needed to explain the extended radio emission, which is consistent with aged radio plasma redistributed by the sloshing. There is a strong analogy between the X-ray and optical phenomenology of the IC 1860 group and that of two other groups, NGC 5044 and NGC 5846, showing cold fronts. The evidence presented in this paper is among the strongest supporting the currently favored model of cold-front formation in relaxed objects and establishes the group scale as a chief environment for studying this phenomenon.« less
  • Cold fronts in cluster cool cores should be erased on short timescales by thermal conduction, unless protected by magnetic fields that are 'draped' parallel to the front surfaces, suppressing conduction perpendicular to the sloshing fronts. We present a series of MHD simulations of cold front formation in the core of a galaxy cluster with anisotropic thermal conduction, exploring a parameter space of conduction strengths parallel and perpendicular to the field lines. Including conduction has a strong effect on the temperature distribution of the core and the appearance of the cold fronts. Though magnetic field lines are draping parallel to themore » front surfaces, preventing conduction directly across them, the temperature jumps across the fronts are nevertheless reduced. The geometry of the field is such that the cold gas below the front surfaces can be connected to hotter regions outside via field lines along directions perpendicular to the plane of the sloshing motions and along sections of the front that are not perfectly draped. This results in the heating of this gas below the front on a timescale of a Gyr, but the sharpness of the density and temperature jumps may nevertheless be preserved. By modifying the gas density distribution below the front, conduction may indirectly aid in suppressing Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities. If conduction along the field lines is unsuppressed, we find that the characteristic sharp jumps seen in Chandra observations of cold front clusters do not form. Therefore, the presence of cold fronts in hot clusters is in contradiction with our simulations with full Spitzer conduction. This suggests that the presence of cold fronts in hot clusters could be used to place upper limits on conduction in the bulk of the intracluster medium. Finally, the combination of sloshing and anisotropic thermal conduction can result in a larger flux of heat to the core than either process in isolation. While still not sufficient to prevent a cooling catastrophe in the very central (r {approx} 5 kpc) regions of the cool core (where something else is required, such as active galactic nucleus feedback), it reduces significantly the mass of gas that experiences a cooling catastrophe outside those small radii.« less