The case for electron re-acceleration at galaxy cluster shocks

Reinout J. Van Weeren, Felipe Andrade-Santos, William A. Dawson, Nathan Golovich, Dharam V. Lal, Hyesung Kang, Dongsu Ryu, Marcus Brìggen, Georgiana A. Ogrean, William R. Forman, Christine Jones, Vinicius M. Placco, Rafael M. Santucci, David Wittman, M. James Jee, Ralph P. Kraft, David Sobral, Andra Stroe, Kevin Fogarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

On the largest scales, the Universe consists of voids and filaments making up the cosmic web. Galaxy clusters are located at the knots in this web, at the intersection of filaments. Clusters grow through accretion from these large-scale filaments and by mergers with other clusters and groups. In a growing number of galaxy clusters, elongated Mpc-sized radio sources have been found 1,2. Also known as radio relics, these regions of diffuse radio emission are thought to trace relativistic electrons in the intracluster plasma accelerated by low-Mach-number shocks generated by cluster-cluster merger events 3. A long-standing problem is how low-Mach-number shocks can accelerate electrons so efficiently to explain the observed radio relics. Here, we report the discovery of a direct connection between a radio relic and a radio galaxy in the merging galaxy cluster Abell 3411-3412 by combining radio, X-ray and optical observations. This discovery indicates that fossil relativistic electrons from active galactic nuclei are re-accelerated at cluster shocks. It also implies that radio galaxies play an important role in governing the non-thermal component of the intracluster medium in merging clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0005
JournalNature Astronomy
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 2

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shock
galaxies
electrons
filaments
radio galaxies
Mach number
fossils
radio emission
active galactic nuclei
intersections
voids
universe
x rays

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Van Weeren, R. J., Andrade-Santos, F., Dawson, W. A., Golovich, N., Lal, D. V., Kang, H., ... Fogarty, K. (2017). The case for electron re-acceleration at galaxy cluster shocks. Nature Astronomy, 1, [0005]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-016-0005
Van Weeren, Reinout J. ; Andrade-Santos, Felipe ; Dawson, William A. ; Golovich, Nathan ; Lal, Dharam V. ; Kang, Hyesung ; Ryu, Dongsu ; Brìggen, Marcus ; Ogrean, Georgiana A. ; Forman, William R. ; Jones, Christine ; Placco, Vinicius M. ; Santucci, Rafael M. ; Wittman, David ; Jee, M. James ; Kraft, Ralph P. ; Sobral, David ; Stroe, Andra ; Fogarty, Kevin. / The case for electron re-acceleration at galaxy cluster shocks. In: Nature Astronomy. 2017 ; Vol. 1.
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Van Weeren, RJ, Andrade-Santos, F, Dawson, WA, Golovich, N, Lal, DV, Kang, H, Ryu, D, Brìggen, M, Ogrean, GA, Forman, WR, Jones, C, Placco, VM, Santucci, RM, Wittman, D, Jee, MJ, Kraft, RP, Sobral, D, Stroe, A & Fogarty, K 2017, 'The case for electron re-acceleration at galaxy cluster shocks', Nature Astronomy, vol. 1, 0005. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-016-0005

The case for electron re-acceleration at galaxy cluster shocks. / Van Weeren, Reinout J.; Andrade-Santos, Felipe; Dawson, William A.; Golovich, Nathan; Lal, Dharam V.; Kang, Hyesung; Ryu, Dongsu; Brìggen, Marcus; Ogrean, Georgiana A.; Forman, William R.; Jones, Christine; Placco, Vinicius M.; Santucci, Rafael M.; Wittman, David; Jee, M. James; Kraft, Ralph P.; Sobral, David; Stroe, Andra; Fogarty, Kevin.

In: Nature Astronomy, Vol. 1, 0005, 02.03.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Van Weeren, Reinout J.

AU - Andrade-Santos, Felipe

AU - Dawson, William A.

AU - Golovich, Nathan

AU - Lal, Dharam V.

AU - Kang, Hyesung

AU - Ryu, Dongsu

AU - Brìggen, Marcus

AU - Ogrean, Georgiana A.

AU - Forman, William R.

AU - Jones, Christine

AU - Placco, Vinicius M.

AU - Santucci, Rafael M.

AU - Wittman, David

AU - Jee, M. James

AU - Kraft, Ralph P.

AU - Sobral, David

AU - Stroe, Andra

AU - Fogarty, Kevin

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N2 - On the largest scales, the Universe consists of voids and filaments making up the cosmic web. Galaxy clusters are located at the knots in this web, at the intersection of filaments. Clusters grow through accretion from these large-scale filaments and by mergers with other clusters and groups. In a growing number of galaxy clusters, elongated Mpc-sized radio sources have been found 1,2. Also known as radio relics, these regions of diffuse radio emission are thought to trace relativistic electrons in the intracluster plasma accelerated by low-Mach-number shocks generated by cluster-cluster merger events 3. A long-standing problem is how low-Mach-number shocks can accelerate electrons so efficiently to explain the observed radio relics. Here, we report the discovery of a direct connection between a radio relic and a radio galaxy in the merging galaxy cluster Abell 3411-3412 by combining radio, X-ray and optical observations. This discovery indicates that fossil relativistic electrons from active galactic nuclei are re-accelerated at cluster shocks. It also implies that radio galaxies play an important role in governing the non-thermal component of the intracluster medium in merging clusters.

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Van Weeren RJ, Andrade-Santos F, Dawson WA, Golovich N, Lal DV, Kang H et al. The case for electron re-acceleration at galaxy cluster shocks. Nature Astronomy. 2017 Mar 2;1. 0005. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-016-0005