The Abell 514 cluster, often abbreviated as A514, was first identified in 1958.
Astronomers using the state-of-the-art Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (uGMRT) have detected an extensive bent radio jet in the Abell 514 galaxy cluster. This captivating discovery, unveiled on October 2 on the pre-print server arXiv, offers an intriguing insight into the dynamic nature of our universe.
Galaxy clusters, known as the cosmos’ largest gravitationally bound formations, comprise thousands of galaxies tethered by the force of gravity. Studying them offers pivotal clues about the formation and evolution of the universe’s vast structures.
The Abell 514 cluster, often abbreviated as A514, was first identified in 1958. With a whopping mass of around 300 trillion solar masses and a temperature of 3.8 keV, it carries significant importance in astrophysical research. Its metallicity stands at a notable level of 0.22. Past observations highlighted A514’s intricate morphology, revealing its hosting of several extended radio sources.
The In-Depth uGMRT Observations
Driven by a quest for knowledge, a research team spearheaded by Wonki Lee from Yonsei University in Seoul ventured deeper into A514’s radio sources. They conducted an exhaustive radio observation of this cluster leveraging the capabilities of uGMRT.
“We observed A514 using uGMRT Band 2 (125−250 MHz), Band 3 (250−500 MHz), and Band 4 (550−850 MHz) with on-source integration times of 3.5, 3.7, and 4.3 hours, respectively,” elucidated the team.
The study shed light on radio emissions emerging from one of the radio galaxies in A514, labeled PKS 0446-20. Remarkably, these emissions stem from two radio lobes of the active galactic nucleus (AGN) and stretch towards the cluster’s southern end, spanning an impressive 2.3 million light-years.
Additionally, uGMRT images showcased two radio lobes connected to a structure termed “the bridge,” extending 1,300 light years. This bridge interestingly connects to another formation known as the “arc,” curving towards the cluster’s heart. An intriguing find was the eastern tip of the arc seemingly meeting the northern end of the 1,300-light-years-long tail.
Decoding The Bent Radio Jet Phenomenon
Upon deeper investigation, the astronomers detected a distinct discontinuity in A514’s X-ray surface brightness coupled with high polarization at the site of its extended radio emission. This phenomenon, the researchers believe, is a manifestation of the jet plasma reorganizing along the cold front of a recent cluster merger.
They theorize that a dormant plasma bubble, instilled during an off-center cluster fusion, undergoes stretching along the cold front. “This stretching process results in an extended radio emission that resembles the observation in A514. At the late merger phase, the bubble redistributes at the cluster outskirt with its elongation aligned tangential to the cluster,” the experts summarized.
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