Multiple shock structures in a radio-selected cluster of galaxies

S. Brown, J. Duesterhoeft, L. Rudnick

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We present a new radio-selected cluster of galaxies, 0217+70, using observations from the Very Large Array and archival optical and X-ray data. The new cluster is one of only seven known that has candidate double peripheral radio relics, and the second of those with a giant radio halo (GRH), as well. It also contains unusual diffuse radio filaments interior to the peripheral relics and a clumpy, elongated X-ray structure. All of these indicate a very actively evolving system, with ongoing accretion and merger activity, illuminating a network of shocks, such as those first seen in numerical simulations. The peripheral relics are most easily understood as outgoing spherical merger shocks with large variations in brightness along them, likely reflecting the inhomogeneities in the shocks' magnetic fields. The interior filaments could be projections of substructures from the sheet-like peripheral shocks or they might be separate structures due to multiple accretion events. ROSAT images show large-scale diffuse X-ray emission coincident with the GRH and additional patchy diffuse emission that suggests a recent merger event. This uniquely rich set of radio shocks and halo offer the possibility, with deeper X-ray and optical data and higher resolution radio observations, of testing the models of how shocks and turbulence couple to the relativistic plasma. The cluster 0217+70 is also overluminous in the radio compared with the empirical radio-X-ray correlation for clusters-the third example of such a system. This new population of diffuse radio emission opens up the possibility of probing low-mass cluster mergers with upcoming deep radio continuum surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1 PART II
StatePublished - Jan 20 2011


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Intergalactic medium
  • Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
  • Shock waves


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