Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists See "Sloshing" Galaxy Cluster

31.01.2012
A Naval Research Laboratory scientist is part of a team that has recently discovered that vast clouds of hot gas are "sloshing" in Abell 2052, a galaxy cluster located about 480 million light years from Earth.

The scientists are studying the hot (30 million degree) gas using X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical data from the Very Large Telescope to see the galaxies.

"The X-ray images were amazing. We were able to see gas sloshing like liquid in a glass" explains NRL's Dr. Tracy Clarke. "Of course this would be one enormous glass since we see the gas sloshing over a region of nearly a million light years across!"

The Chandra data reveal the huge spiral structure in the hot gas around the outside of the image. Zooming in on the cluster reveals "cavities" or "bubbles" surrounding the central giant elliptical galaxy. The spiral began when a small cluster of galaxies collided off-center with a larger one positioned around that central galaxy.

The gravitational attraction of the smaller cluster drew the hot gas out of the central cluster toward the smaller cluster. Once the smaller cluster passed by the central cluster core, the gas movement reversed and it was pulled back toward the center of the main cluster. The hot cluster gas overshot the cluster center, creating the "sloshing" effect that is like the sloshing that occurs when a glass holding a liquid is quickly jerked sideways. In the cluster, gravity pulls back on the gas cloud, creating the spiral pattern.

For scientists, the observation of the "sloshing" motion in Abell 2052 is important for two reasons. First, the "sloshing" helps to move some of the cooler, dense gas in the center of the core farther away from the core. This cooler gas is only about 10 million degrees, as compared to the average temperature of 30 million degrees. This movement reduces the amount of cooling in the cluster core and could limit the amount of new stars being formed in the central galaxy. The "sloshing" movement in Abell 2052 also helps redistribute heavy elements like iron and oxygen, which are created out of supernova explosions. These heavy elements are an important part of the make-up of future stars and planets. The fact that Chandra's observation of Abell 2052 lasted more than a week was critical in providing scientists with the details detected in this image.

Besides the large-scale spiral feature, the Chandra observations also allowed scientists to see details in the center of the cluster related to outbursts from the supermassive black hole. The data reveal bubbles resulting from material blasted away from the black hole which are surrounded by dense, bright, cool rims. In the same way that the "sloshing" helps to reduce the cooling of the gas at the core of the cluster, the bubble activity has the same effect, limiting the growth of the galaxy and its supermassive black hole.

This research was published in the August 20, 2011 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. The authors were Elizabeth Blanton of Boston University, Boston, MA; Scott Randall of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA; Tracy Clarke of the Naval Research Laboratory, Remote Sensing Division, in Washington DC; Craig Sarazin of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA; Brian McNamara of the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada; Edmund Douglass of Boston University and Michael McDonald of the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 85 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Donna McKinney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nrl.navy.mil
http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2012/scientists-see-sloshing-galaxy-cluster

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>