Astronomers observing a mysterious radio halo from the galaxy cluster Abell 1213 have uncovered something unexpected. Although the radio signals are still puzzling, researchers have been able to reveal the heart of the cluster and the center galaxy within.
What’s even more fascinating about this discovery was the evidence that there were mergers among the galaxies within the cluster. The off-center nature of the radio halo has also provided scientists with quite a puzzle, as most radio signals of this sort act more in line with the gas and dust that make up the “intracluster medium.”
By utilizing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and X-ray data from the XMM-Newton space telescope, astronomers were able to successfully map the structure and dynamics of the intracluster medium. Using that info, the astronomers were also able to determine that the mysterious radio halo is the size of around 1. 66 million light-years but that it doesn’t follow the x-ray emissions in the area. This has led to many astronomers being baffled by the findings and looking for solutions. The radio signals they detected were also believed to have been the result of a galaxies merger. This relic is not believed to have caused the radio halo. Instead, it’s just another piece of a much larger puzzle that scientists are trying to solve.
The discovery also led scientists to uncover that star formation in Abel 1213 is not tied to the edges of the galactic cluster. Instead, star-forming galaxies appear to be present throughout the cluster, which some believe may imply that the cluster forms when several different groups clump together. This does not appear to be responsible for the radio halo, either.
The astronomers recorded their findings in a paper currently available on arXiv. Astronomers believe that we will need to study the galactic cluster using deeper xray signals in order to understand the cause of the radio halo. Future observations of these enormous galaxy clusters with James Webb and other telescopes could provide more data about them.
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