Astrophys. J., 608, 166-178 (2004/June-2)
Nonthermal hard X-ray emission in galaxy clusters observed with the BeppoSAX PDS.
NEVALAINEN J., OOSTERBROEK T., BONAMENTE M. and COLAFRANCESCO S.
Abstract (from CDS):
We study the X-ray emission in a sample of galaxy clusters using the BeppoSAX PDS instrument in the 20-80 keV energy band. We estimate the nonthermal hard X-ray (HXR) cluster emission by modeling the thermal contribution from the cluster gas and the nonthermal contamination from the unobscured active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in the clusters. We also evaluate the systematic uncertainties due to the background fluctuations. Assuming negligible contamination from the obscured AGNs, the resulting nonthermal component is detected at a 2 σ level in ∼50% of the nonsignificantly AGN-contaminated clusters: A2142, A2199, A2256, A3376, Coma, Ophiuchus, and Virgo. The data are consistent with a scenario whereby relaxed clusters have no hard X-ray component of nonthermal origin, whereas merger clusters do, with a 20-80 keV luminosity of ∼1043-1044 h–250ergs/s. The co-added spectrum of the above clusters indicates a power-law spectrum for the HXR emission with a photon index of 2.8+0.3–0.4in the 12-115 keV band, and we find indication that it has extended distribution. These indications argue against significant contamination from obscured AGNs, which have harder spectra and a centrally concentrated distribution. These results are supportive of the assumption of the merger shock acceleration of electrons in clusters, which has been proposed as a possible origin of the nonthermal hard X-ray emission models. Assuming that the cosmic microwave background photons experience inverse Compton scattering from the merger-accelerated relativistic electrons and thus produce the observed HXR, the measured hard X-ray slope corresponds to a differential momentum spectra of the relativistic electrons with a slope of µ=3.8-5.0. In presence of cluster magnetic fields this relativistic electron population produces synchrotron emission with a spectral index of 1.4-2.1, consistent with radio halo observations of merger clusters. Thus both hard X-ray and radio observations of merger clusters are consistent with the inverse Compton model. The observed slope of the HXR emission is also consistent with that predicted by the nonthermal bremsstrahlung, which thus cannot be ruled out by the fit to the current data, even though this model requires an extreme, untenable cluster energetics. Assuming a centrally concentrated distribution of HXR emission, the data require a harder slope for the HXR spectrum, which is consistent with secondary electron models, but this model yields a worse fit to the PDS data and thus seems to be disfavored over the primary electron inverse Compton model.
Galaxies: Clusters: General - X-Rays: Galaxies: Clusters
In ACO 3266: AGNs C3266-12 and E3266-3 = [WFQ98] C3266-12 and [WFQ98] E3266-3 in SIMBAD, 1RX JJ060113.0-40164 is a misprint for 1RXS J060133.0-401643.
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