University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

From the same journal

By the same authors

Revived Fossil Plasma Sources in Galaxy Clusters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • S. Mandal
  • H. T. Intema
  • R. J. van Weeren
  • T. W. Shimwell
  • A. Botteon
  • G. Brunetti
  • F. de Gasperin
  • M. Brüggen
  • G. Di Gennaro
  • R. Kraft
  • H. J. A. Röttgering
  • M. Hardcastle
  • C. Tasse
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Original languageEnglish
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Nov 2019


It is well established that particle acceleration by shocks and turbulence in the intra-cluster medium can produce cluster-scale synchrotron emitting sources. However, the detailed physics of these particle acceleration processes is still not well understood. One of the main open questions is the role of fossil relativistic electrons that have been deposited in the intra-cluster medium by radio galaxies. These synchrotron-emitting electrons are very difficult to study, as their radiative life time is only tens of Myrs at GHz frequencies, and are therefore a relatively unexplored population. Despite the typical steep radio spectrum due to synchrotron losses, these fossil electrons are barely visible even at radio frequencies well below a GHz. However, when a pocket of fossil radio plasma is compressed, it boosts the visibility at sub-GHz frequencies, creating so-called radio phoenices. This compression can be the result of bulk motion and shocks in the ICM due to merger activity. In this paper, we demonstrate the discovery potential of low frequency radio sky surveys to find and study revived fossil plasma sources in galaxy clusters. We used the 150~MHz TGSS and 1.4 GHz NVSS sky surveys to identify candidate radio phoenices. A subset of three candidates were studied in detail using deep multi-band radio observations (LOFAR and GMRT), X-ray (\textit{Chandra} or \textit{XMM-Newton}) and archival optical observations. Two of the three sources are new discoveries. Using these observations, we identified common observational properties (radio morphology, ultra-steep spectrum, X-ray luminosity, dynamical state) that will enable us to identify this class of sources more easily, and help to understand the physical origin of these sources.


12 pages, 5 figures; Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics

ID: 17773416