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Chandra observation of two shock fronts in the merging galaxy cluster Abell 2146.

Russell, H.R. and Sanders, J.S. and Fabian, A.C. and Baum, S.A. and Donahue, M. and Edge, A.C. and McNamara, B.R. and O'Dea, C.P. (2010) 'Chandra observation of two shock fronts in the merging galaxy cluster Abell 2146.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 406 (3). pp. 1721-1733.


We present a new Chandra observation of the galaxy cluster Abell 2146 which has revealed a complex merging system with a gas structure that is remarkably similar to the Bullet cluster. The X-ray image and temperature map show a cool 2 –3 keV subcluster with a ram pressure stripped tail of gas just exiting the disrupted 6 − 7 keV primary cluster. From the sharp jump in the temperature and density of the gas, we determine that the subcluster is preceded by a bow shock with a Mach number M= 2.2 ± 0.8, corresponding to a velocity v= 2200+1000−900 km s−1 relative to the main cluster. We estimate that the subcluster passed through the primary core only 0.1 –0.3 Gyr ago. In addition, we observe a slower upstream shock propagating through the outer region of the primary cluster and calculate a Mach number M= 1.7 ± 0.3. Based on the measured shock Mach numbers M∼ 2 and the strength of the upstream shock, we argue that the mass ratio between the two merging clusters is between 3 and 4 to one. By comparing the Chandra observation with an archival Hubble Space Telescope observation, we find that a group of galaxies is located in front of the X-ray subcluster core but the brightest cluster galaxy is located immediately behind the X-ray peak.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Galaxies, Clusters, Abell 2146, Intergalactic medium, X-rays.
Full text:(NA) Not Applicable
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:August 2010
Date first made open access:No date available

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