Deep Chandra observations of the stripped galaxy group falling into Abell 2142

D. Eckert, M. Gaspari, M. S. Owers, E. Roediger, S. Molendi, F. Gastaldello, S. Paltani, S. Ettori, T. Venturi, M. Rossetti, L. Rudnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In the local Universe, the growth of massive galaxy clusters mainly operates through the continuous accretion of group-scale systems. The infalling group in Abell 2142 is the poster child of such an accreting group, and as such, it is an ideal target to study the astrophysical processes induced by structure formation. We present the results of a deep (200 ks) observation of this structure with Chandra that highlights the complexity of this system in exquisite detail. In the core of the group, the spatial resolution of Chandra reveals a leading edge and complex AGN-induced activity. The morphology of the stripped gas tail appears straight in the innermost 250 kpc, suggesting that magnetic draping efficiently shields the gas from its surroundings. However, beyond -300 kpc from the core, the tail flares and the morphology becomes strongly irregular, which could be explained by a breaking of the drape, for example, caused by turbulent motions. The power spectrum of surface-brightness fluctuations is relatively flat (P2Dk-2.3), which indicates that thermal conduction is strongly inhibited even beyond the region where magnetic draping is effective. The amplitude of density fluctuations in the tail is consistent with a mild level of turbulence with a Mach number M3D - 0.1 - 0.25. Overall, our results show that the processes leading to the thermalization and mixing of the infalling gas are slow and relatively inefficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA25
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We thank Eugene Churazov, Fabrizio Brighenti, and Mauro Roncarelli for useful discussions and the anonymous referee for a constructive review. The scientific results reported in this article are based on observations made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. This research made use of Astropy, a community-developed core Python package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013). M.G. is supported by NASA through Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award Number PF5-160137 issued by the Chan-dra X-ray Observatory Center, which is operated by the SAO for and on behalf of NASA under contract NAS8-03060. Support for this work was also provided by NASA Chandra award number GO7-18121X. Partial support for research for L.R. comes from SAO/NASA grant GO4-15119A to the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© ESO, 2017.


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • Galaxies: groups: general
  • Large-scale structure of Universe
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters


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