Shock heating in the group atmosphere of the radio galaxy B2 0838+32A

NN Jetha, MJ Hardcastle, Trevor Ponman, I Sakelliou

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14 Citations (Scopus)


We present Chandra and radio observations, and analysis of Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, of the radio galaxy B2 0838+32A (4C 32.26) and its environment. The radio galaxy is at the centre of a nearby group that has often been identified with the cluster Abell 695, but we argue that the original Abell cluster is likely to be an unrelated and considerably more distant system. The radio source is a restarting radio galaxy and, using our Chandra data, we argue that the currently active lobes are expanding supersonically, driving a shock with Mach number 2.4(-0.5)(+1.0) into the interstellar medium. This would be only the third strong shock round a young radio source to be discovered, after Centaurus A and NGC 3801. However, in contrast to both these systems, the host galaxy of B2 0838+32A shows no evidence for a recent merger, while the active galactic nuclei (AGN) spectrum shows no evidence for the dusty torus that would imply a large reservoir of cold gas close to the central black hole. On the contrary, the AGN spectrum is of a type that has been associated with the presence of a radiatively inefficient accretion flow that could be controlled by an AGN heating and subsequent cooling of the hot, X-ray emitting gas. If correct, this means that B2 0838+32A is the first source in which we can directly see entropy-increasing processes ( shocks) driven by accretion from the hot phase of the interstellar medium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1052-1062
Number of pages11
JournalRoyal Astronomical Society. Monthly Notices
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2008


  • radio continuum: general
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters
  • galaxies: active
  • intergalactic medium


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