Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A cosmic show-down

28.06.2010
The interaction between dense galaxy clusters and large-scale cosmic structures leads to intense shock waves that illustrate the evolution of the universe

Galaxy clusters, which are assemblies of hundreds or even thousands of galaxies, are some of the densest structures in the universe. By studying the growth and dynamics of galaxy clusters, researchers from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Wako, and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Taiwan, have provided valuable clues on the evolution of the universe1.

Huge numbers of stars are not the only distinctive feature of galaxy clusters. Another important component is the intracluster medium (ICM), a hot plasma consisting of electrons and protons, that has a greater mass than the galaxies and extends throughout the vast intergalactical space of the cluster.

The researchers focused their study on the ICM of the galaxy cluster known as A1689. They analyzed x-ray observations made by the Japanese satellite Suzaku; its high sensitivity for x-ray radiation enabled the observation of A1689’s ICM to very large distances away from the center. The researchers also analyzed gravitational lensing effects, where—following Einstein’s theory of relativity—they estimated the total mass of the cluster by the way light from distant galaxies bent around different regions of A1689.

“From the gravitational lensing analysis, the mass distribution of A1689 is precisely known,” notes Madoka Kawaharada from the research team. “Therefore, by adding x-ray information … to the cluster outskirts, we [could] compare the gas dynamics directly with the mass distribution.

Kawaharada and colleagues found significant interactions between the ICM and the large-scale structure of galaxies, sometimes called the ’cosmic web’ that extends throughout the universe. At the region where the A1689 cluster meets the large-scale structure, its ICM gets even hotter than its usual 20 megakelvin, with temperatures reaching 60 megakelvin. This suggests a heating effect by the shock wave that develops where the hot ICM plasma meets ‘colder’ gas from the large-scale structure. In addition, the gravitational lensing data suggest that the ICM in the shock wave region is static, whereas it is moving elsewhere, which supports it against the strong gravitational force of the cluster.

These results provide a valuable insight into the dynamics of these huge cosmic structures, particularly if they can be confirmed for other galaxy clusters, says Kawaharada. “If they behave similarly, it will be evidence that galaxy clusters do interact with the large-scale structure, confirming that they are a continuously evolving product of the structure formation in the universe.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Cosmic Radiation Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute

Journal information

1. Kawaharada, M., Okabe, N., Umetsu, K., Takizawa, M., Matsushita, K., Fukazawa, Y., Hamana, T., Miyazaki, S., Nakazawa, K. & Ohashi, T. Suzaku observation of A1689: Anisotropic temperature and entropy distributions Associated with the large-scale structure. The Astrophysical Journal 714, 423–441 (2010)

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/eng/research/6317
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope
13.12.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

nachricht Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure
13.12.2017 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>