A search for steep spectrum radio relics and halos with the GMRTR. J. van Weeren1, H. J. A. Röttgering1, M. Brüggen2, and A. Cohen3
1 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Jacobs University Bremen, PO Box 750 561, 28725 Bremen, Germany
3 Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7213, Washington, DC 20375, USA
Received 14 May 2009 / Accepted 7 October 2009
Context. Diffuse radio emission, in the form of radio halos and relics, traces regions in clusters with shocks or turbulence, probably produced by cluster mergers. The shocks and turbulence are important for the total energetics and detailed temperature distribution within the intracluster medium (ICM). Only a small fraction of clusters exhibit diffuse radio emission, whereas a large majority of well-studied clusters shows clear substructure in the ICM. Some models of diffuse radio emission in clusters indicate that virtually all clusters should contain diffuse radio sources with a steep spectrum. External accretion shocks associated with filamentary structures of galaxies could also accelerate electrons to relativistic energies and hence produce diffuse synchrotron emitting regions. The detection of radio emission from such filaments is important for our understanding of the origin of the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium (WHIM), and relativistic electrons and magnetic fields in the cosmic web. Here we report on Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) observations of a sample of steep spectrum sources from the 74 MHz VLSS survey. These sources are diffuse on scales , and not clearly associated with nearby () galaxies.
Aims. The main aim of the observations is to search for diffuse radio emission associated with galaxy clusters or the cosmic web.
Methods. We have carried out GMRT 610 MHz continuum observations of unidentified diffuse steep spectrum sources.
Results. We have constructed a sample of diffuse steep spectrum sources, selected from the 74 MHz VLSS survey. We identified eight diffuse radio sources probably all located in clusters. We found five radio relics, one cluster with a giant radio halo and a radio relic, and one radio mini-halo. The giant radio halo has the highest radio power (P1.4) known to date. By complementing our observations with measurements from the literature we find correlations between the physical size of relics and the spectral index, in the sense that smaller relics have steeper spectra. Furthermore, larger relics are mostly located in the outskirts of clusters while smaller relics are located closer to the cluster center.
Key words: radio continuum: galaxies -- galaxies: active -- galaxies: clusters: general -- cosmology: large-scale structure of Universe
© ESO 2009