skip to main content

Title: The state of the warm and cold gas in the extreme starburst at the core of the Phoenix galaxy cluster (SPT-CLJ2344-4243)

We present new optical integral field spectroscopy (Gemini South) and submillimeter spectroscopy (Submillimeter Array) of the central galaxy in the Phoenix cluster (SPT-CLJ2344-4243). This cluster was previously reported to have a massive starburst (∼800 M {sub ☉} yr{sup –1}) in the central, brightest cluster galaxy, most likely fueled by the rapidly cooling intracluster medium. These new data reveal a complex emission-line nebula, extending for >30 kpc from the central galaxy, detected at [O II]λλ3726, 3729, [O III]λλ4959, 5007, Hβ, Hγ, Hδ, [Ne III]λ3869, and He II λ4686. The total Hα luminosity, assuming Hα/Hβ = 2.85, is L {sub Hα} = 7.6 ± 0.4 ×10{sup 43} erg s{sup –1}, making this the most luminous emission-line nebula detected in the center of a cool core cluster. Overall, the relative fluxes of the low-ionization lines (e.g., [O II], Hβ) to the UV continuum are consistent with photoionization by young stars. In both the center of the galaxy and in a newly discovered highly ionized plume to the north of the galaxy, the ionization ratios are consistent with both shocks and active galactic nucleus (AGN) photoionization. We speculate that this extended plume may be a galactic wind, driven and partially photoionized by both themore » starburst and central AGN. Throughout the cluster we measure elevated high-ionization line ratios (e.g., He II/Hβ, [O III]/Hβ), coupled with an overall high-velocity width (FWHM ≳ 500 km s{sup –1}), suggesting that shocks are likely important throughout the interstellar medium of the central galaxy. These shocks are most likely driven by a combination of stellar winds from massive young stars, core-collapse supernovae, and the central AGN. In addition to the warm, ionized gas, we detect a substantial amount of cold, molecular gas via the CO(3-2) transition, coincident in position with the galaxy center. We infer a molecular gas mass of M{sub H{sub 2}} = 2.2 ± 0.6 × 10{sup 10} M {sub ☉}, which implies that the starburst will consume its fuel in ∼30 Myr if it is not replenished. The L {sub IR}/M{sub H{sub 2}} that we measure for this cluster is consistent with the starburst limit of 500 L {sub ☉}/M {sub ☉}, above which radiation pressure is able to disperse the cold reservoir. The combination of the high level of turbulence in the warm phase and the high L {sub IR}/M{sub H{sub 2}} ratio suggests that this violent starburst may be in the process of quenching itself. We propose that phases of rapid star formation may be common in the cores of galaxy clusters, but so short-lived that their signatures are quickly erased and appear only in a subsample of the most strongly cooling clusters.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ; ; ;  [2] ; ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8]
  1. Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)
  2. Institute for Computational Cosmology, Department of Physics, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE (United Kingdom)
  3. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  4. Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 (United States)
  5. Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States)
  6. Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)
  7. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 (Canada)
  8. Atmospheric and Environmental Research, 131 Hartwell Avenue, Lexington, MA 02421 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22351521
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 784; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CARBON MONOXIDE; EMISSION; GALAXIES; GALAXY CLUSTERS; LUMINOSITY; MASS; NEBULAE; PHOTOIONIZATION; QUENCHING; RADIATION PRESSURE; RED SHIFT; SPECTROSCOPY; STELLAR WINDS; SUPERNOVAE; TURBULENCE; VELOCITY