EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 484, Number 1, June II 2008
Page(s) 51 - 65
Section Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20078428
Published online 01 April 2008

A&A 484, 51-65 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20078428

Warming rays in cluster cool cores

S. Colafrancesco1, 2 and P. Marchegiani2, 3

1  ASI-ASDC c/o ESRIN, via G. Galilei snc, 00040 Frascati, Italy
    e-mail: colafrancesco@.asdc.asi.it
2  INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma via Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio, Italy
    e-mail: cola@mporzio.astro.it
3  Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Roma La Sapienza, P.le A. Moro 2, Roma, Italy
    e-mail: marchegiani@mporzio.astro.it

Received 7 August 2007 / Accepted 7 January 2008

Context. Cosmic rays are confined in the atmospheres of galaxy clusters and, therefore, they can play a crucial role in the heating of their cool cores.
Aims. We discuss here the thermal and non-thermal features of a model of cosmic ray heating of cluster cores that can provide a solution to the cooling-flow problems. To this aim, we generalize a model originally proposed by Colafrancesco, Dar & DeRujula (2004) and we show that our model predicts specific correlations between the thermal and non-thermal properties of galaxy clusters and enables various observational tests.
Methods. The model reproduces the observed temperature distribution in clusters by using an energy balance condition in which the X-ray energy emitted by clusters is supplied, in a quasi-steady state, by the hadronic cosmic rays, which act as "warming rays" (WRs). The temperature profile of the intracluster (IC) gas is strictly correlated with the pressure distribution of the WRs and, consequently, with the non-thermal emission (radio, hard X-ray and gamma-ray) induced by the interaction of the WRs with the IC gas and the IC magnetic field.
Results. The temperature distribution of the IC gas in both cool-core and non cool-core clusters is successfully predicted from the measured IC plasma density distribution. Under this contraint, the WR model is also able to reproduce the thermal and non-thermal pressure distribution in clusters, as well as their radial entropy distribution, as shown by the analysis of three clusters studied in detail: Perseus, A2199 and Hydra. The WR model provides other observable features of galaxy clusters: a correlation of the pressure ratio (WRs to thermal IC gas) with the inner cluster temperature $(P_{\rm WR}/P_{\rm th}) \sim (kT_{\rm inner})^{-2/3}$, a correlation of the gamma-ray luminosity with the inner cluster temperature $L_{\gamma} \sim (kT_{\rm inner})^{4/3}$, a substantial number of cool-core clusters observable with the GLAST-LAT experiment, a surface brightness of radio halos in cool-core clusters that recovers the observed one, a hard X-ray ICS emission from cool-core clusters that is systematically lower than the observed limits and yet observable with the next generation high-sensitivity and spatial resolution HXR experiments like Simbol-X.
Conclusions. The specific theoretical properties and the multi-frequency distribution of the e.m. signals predicted in the WR model render it quite different from the other models so far proposed for the heating of clusters' cool-cores. Such differences make it possible to prove or disprove our model as an explanation for the cooling-flow problems on the basis of multi-frequency observations of galaxy clusters.

Key words: cosmology: theory -- galaxies: clusters: general -- ISM: cosmic rays

© ESO 2008