Measuring cavity powers of active galactic nuclei in clusters using a hybrid X-ray-radio method -- A new window on feedback opened by subarcsecond LOFAR-VLBI observations

R. Timmerman, R. J. van Weeren, A. Botteon, H. J. A Röttgering, B. R. McNamara, F. Sweijen, L. Bîrzan, L. K. Morabito

Submitted on 11 July 2022


Measurements of the quantity of radio-mode feedback injected by an active galactic nucleus into the cluster environment have mostly relied on X-ray observations, which reveal cavities in the intracluster medium excavated by the radio lobes. However, the sensitivity required to accurately constrain the dimensions of these cavities has proven to be a major limiting factor and is the main bottleneck on high-redshift measurements. We describe a hybrid method based on a combination of X-ray and radio observations, which aims to enhance our ability to study radio-mode feedback. In this paper, we present one of the first samples of galaxy clusters observed with the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) at 144 MHz and use this sample to test the hybrid method at lower frequencies than before. By comparing our measurements with results found in literature based on the traditional method using only X-ray observations, we find that the hybrid method provides consistent results to the traditional method. In addition, we find that the correlation between the traditional method and the hybrid method improves as the X-ray cavities are more clearly defined. This suggests that using radio lobes as proxies for cavities may help to circumvent systematic uncertainties in the cavity volume measurements. Encouraged by the high volume of unique ILT observations successfully processed, this hybrid method enables radio-mode feedback to be studied at high redshifts for the first time even for large samples of clusters.


Comment: Accepted for publication in A&A. 16 pages, 7 figures

Subject: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics