Magnetic fields and relativistic electrons fill entire galaxy cluster

A. Botteon, R. J. van Weeren, G. Brunetti, F. Vazza, T. W. Shimwell, M. Brüggen, H. J. A. Röttgering, F. de Gasperin, H. Akamatsu, A. Bonafede, R. Cassano, V. Cuciti, D. Dallacasa, G. Di Gennaro, F. Gastaldello

Submitted on 2 November 2022


The hot plasma within merging galaxy clusters is predicted to be filled with shocks and turbulence that may convert part of their kinetic energy into relativistic electrons and magnetic fields generating synchrotron radiation. Analyzing Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) observations of the galaxy cluster Abell 2255, we show evidence of radio synchrotron emission distributed over very large scales of at least 5 megaparsec. The pervasive radio emission witnesses that shocks and turbulence efficiently transfer kinetic energy into relativistic particles and magnetic fields in a region that extends up to the cluster outskirts. The strength of the emission requires a magnetic field energy density at least 100 times higher than expected from a simple compression of primordial fields, presumably implying that dynamo operates efficiently also in the cluster periphery. It also suggests that nonthermal components may contribute substantially to the pressure of the intracluster medium in the cluster periphery.


Comment: Published in Science Advances on Nov 2nd, 2022. 8 pages, 5 images

Subjects: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics; Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena