An Enormous Molecular Gas Flow in the RX J0821+0752 Galaxy Cluster

A. N. Vantyghem, B. R. McNamara, H. R. Russell, A. C. Edge, P. E.J. Nulsen, F. Combes, A. C. Fabian, M. McDonald, P. Salomé

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    We present recent Chandra X-ray observations of the RX J0821.0+0752 galaxy cluster, in addition to ALMA observations of the CO(1-0) and CO(3-2) line emission tracing the molecular gas in its central galaxy. All of the CO line emission, originating from a molecular gas reservoir, is located several kiloparsecs away from the nucleus of the central galaxy. The cold gas is concentrated into two main clumps surrounded by a diffuse envelope. They form a wide filament coincident with a plume of bright X-ray emission emanating from the cluster core. This plume encompasses a putative X-ray cavity that is only large enough to have uplifted a small percent of the molecular gas. Unlike other brightest cluster galaxies, stimulated cooling, where X-ray cavities lift low-entropy cluster gas until it becomes thermally unstable, cannot have produced the observed gas reservoir. Instead, the molecular gas has likely formed as a result of sloshing motions in the intracluster medium induced by a nearby galaxy. Sloshing can emulate uplift by dislodging gas from the galactic center. This gas has the shortest cooling time, so it will condense if disrupted for long enough.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number57
    JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019


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