EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 396, Number 1, December II 2002
Page(s) 83 - 89
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021382
Published online 22 November 2002

A&A 396, 83-89 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021382

The radio luminosity function of cluster radio halos

T. A. Enßlin1 and H. Röttgering2

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str.1, Postfach 1317, 85741 Garching, Germany
2  Sterrewacht, Oort Gebouw, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

(Received 19 April 2002 / Accepted 11 September 2002 )

A significant fraction of galaxy clusters exhibits cluster-wide radio halos. We give a simple prediction of the local and higher redshift radio halo luminosity function (RHLF) on the basis of (i) an observed and a theoretical X-ray cluster luminosity function (XCLF) (ii) the observed radio-X-ray luminosity correlation (RXLC) of galaxy clusters with radio halos (iii) an assumed fraction of $f_{\rm rh}
\approx \frac{1}{3}$ galaxy clusters to have radio halos as supported by observations. We then find 300-700 radio halos with $S_{\rm 1.4~GHz}> 1\,$mJy, and 105- 106 radio halos with $S_{\rm 1.4~GHz}>
1\,\mu$ Jy should be visible on the sky. 14% of the $S_{\rm 1.4~GHz}> 1\,$ mJy and 56% of the $S_{\rm 1.4~GHz}>
1\,\mu$Jy halos are located at z>0.3. Subsequently, we give more realistic predictions taking into account (iv) a refined estimate of the radio halo fraction as a function of redshift and cluster mass, and (v) a decrease in intrinsic radio halo luminosity with redshift due to increased inverse Compton electron energy losses on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). We find that this reduces the radio halo counts from the simple prediction by only 30 % totally, but the high redshift ( z>0.3) counts are more strongly reduced by 50-70%. These calculations show that the new generation of sensitive radio telescopes, including LOFAR, ATA, EVLA, SKA and the already-operating GMRT should be able to detect large numbers of radio halos and will provide unique information for studies of galaxy cluster merger rates and associated non-thermal processes.

Key words: X-rays: galaxies: clusters -- radiation mechanism: non-thermal -- radio continuum: general -- galaxies: intergalactic medium  -- galaxies: cluster: general

Offprint request: T. A. Enßlin, ensslin@mpa-garching.mpg.de

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© ESO 2002

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