Evidence for shock acceleration and intergalactic magnetic fields in a large-scale filament of galaxies ZwCl 2341.1+0000

J Bagchi, TA Ensslin, F Miniati, CS Stalin, M Singh, Somak Raychaudhury, NB Humeshkar

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88 Citations (Scopus)


We report the discovery of large-scale diffuse radio emission from what appears to be a large-scale filamentary network of galaxies in the region of cluster ZwCI 2341.1+0000, and stretching over an area of at least 6 h(50)(-1) Mpc in diameter. Multicolour CCD observations yield photometric redshifts indicating that a significant fraction of the optical galaxies in this region is at a redshift of z = 0.3. This is supported by spectroscopic measurements of 4 galaxies in the Sloan Digitized Sky Survey (SDSS) survey at a mean z = 0.27. We present VLA images at lambda = 20 cm (NVSS) and 90 cm, showing the detailed radio structure of the filaments. Comparison with the high resolution FIRST radio survey shows that the diffuse emission is not due to known individual point sources. The diffuse radio-emission has a spectral index alpha less than or similar to - 0.5, and is most likely synchrotron emission from relativistic charged particles in an inter-galactic magnetic field. Furthermore, this optical/radio structure is detected in X-rays by the ROSAT all-sky survey. It has a 0.1-2.4 keV luminosity of about 10(44) erg s(-1) and shows an extended highly non-relaxed morphology. These observations suggest that ZwCI 2341.1+0000 is possibly a proto-cluster of galaxies in which we are witnessing the process of structure formation. We show that the energetics of accretion shocks generated in forming large-scale structures are sufficient to produce enough high energy cosmic-ray (CR) electrons required to explain the observed radio emission, provided a magnetic field of strength Bgreater than or similar to0.3 muG is present there. The latter is only a lower limit and the actual magnetic field is likely to be higher depending on the morphology of the emitting region. Finally, we show results from a numerical simulation of large-scale structure formation including acceleration of CR electrons at cosmological shocks and magnetic field evolution. Our results are in accord with the observed radio synchrotron and X-ray thermal bremsstrahlung fluxes. Thus we conclude that the reported radio detection is the first evidence of cosmic-ray particle acceleration taking place at cosmic shocks in a magnetized inter-galactic medium over scales of greater than or similar to 5 h(50)(-1) Mpc. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science BY. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-277
Number of pages29
JournalNew Astronomy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2002


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