Radio active galactic nuclei in galaxy clusters: feedback, merger signatures, and cluster tracers
Paterno-Mahler, Rachel Beth
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Galaxy clusters, the largest gravitationally-bound structures in the universe, are composed of 50-1000s of galaxies, hot X-ray emitting gas, and dark matter. They grow in size over time through cluster and group mergers. The merger history of a cluster can be imprinted on the hot gas, known as the intracluster medium (ICM). Merger signatures include shocks, cold fronts, and sloshing of the ICM, which can form spiral structures. Some clusters host double-lobed radio sources driven by active galactic nuclei (AGN). First, I will present a study of the galaxy cluster Abell 2029, which is very relaxed on large scales and has one of the largest continuous sloshing spirals yet observed in the X-ray, extending outward approximately 400 kpc. The sloshing gas interacts with the southern lobe of the radio galaxy, causing it to bend. Energy injection from the AGN is insufficient to offset cooling. The sloshing spiral may be an important additional mechanism in preventing large amounts of gas from cooling to very low temperatures. Next, I will present a study of Abell 98, a triple system currently undergoing a merger. I will discuss the merger history, and show that it is causing a shock. The central subcluster hosts a double-lobed AGN, which is evacuating a cavity in the ICM. Understanding the physical processes that affect the ICM is important for determining the mass of clusters, which in turn affects our calculations of cosmological parameters. To further constrain these parameters, as well as models of galaxy evolution, it is important to use a large sample of galaxy clusters over a range of masses and redshifts. Bent, double-lobed radio sources can potentially act as tracers of galaxy clusters over wide ranges of these parameters. I examine how efficient bent radio sources are at tracing high-redshift (z>0.7) clusters. Out of 646 sources in our high-redshift Clusters Occupied by Bent Radio AGN (COBRA) sample, 282 are candidate new, distant clusters of galaxies based on measurements of excess galaxy counts surrounding the radio sources in Spitzer infrared images.