EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 468, Number 3, June IV 2007
Page(s) 815 - 822
Section Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20066484
Published online 13 March 2007

A&A 468, 815-822 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20066484

The kinematics of intracluster planetary nebulae and the on-going subcluster merger in the Coma cluster core

O. Gerhard1, M. Arnaboldi2, 3, K. C. Freeman4, S. Okamura5, N. Kashikawa6, and N. Yasuda7

1  Max-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85741 Garching, Germany
    e-mail: gerhard@mpe.mpg.de
2  ESO, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
    e-mail: marnabol@eso.org
3  INAF, Oss. Astr. di Torino, Strada Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
4  RSAA, Mt. Stromlo Observatory, Cotter Road, Weston Creek, ACT 2611, Australia
    e-mail: kcf@mso.anu.edu.au
5  Dept. of Astronomy and RESCEU, School of Science, The Univ. of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
    e-mail: okamura@astron.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp
6  NAOJ, 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo, 181-8588, Japan
    e-mail: kashik@zone.mtk.nao.ac.jp
7  Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, Univ. of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8582, Japan
    e-mail: yasuda@icrr.u-tokyo.ac.jp

(Received 30 September 2006 / Accepted 7 March 2007)

Aims.The Coma cluster is the richest and most compact of the nearby clusters, yet there is growing evidence that its formation is still on-going. A sensitive probe of this evolution is the dynamics of intracluster stars, which are unbound from galaxies while the cluster forms, according to cosmological simulations.
Methods.With a new multi-slit imaging spectroscopy technique pioneered at the 8.2 m Subaru telescope and FOCAS, we have detected and measured the line-of-sight velocities of 37 intracluster planetary nebulae associated with the diffuse stellar population of stars in the Coma cluster core, at 100 Mpc distance.
Results.We detect clear velocity substructures within a 6 arcmin diameter field. A substructure is present at ~5000 ${\rm\,km\,s^{-1}}$, probably from in-fall of a galaxy group, while the main intracluster stellar component is centered around ~6500 ${\rm\,km\,s^{-1}}$, ~700 ${\rm\,km\,s^{-1}}$ offset from the nearby cD galaxy NGC 4874. The kinematics and morphology of the intracluster stars show that the cluster core is in a highly dynamically evolving state. In combination with galaxy redshift and X-ray data this argues strongly that the cluster is currently in the midst of a subcluster merger, where the NGC 4874 subcluster core may still be self-bound, while the NGC 4889 subcluster core has probably dissolved. The NGC 4889 subcluster is likely to have fallen into Coma from the eastern A2199 filament, in a direction nearly in the plane of the sky, meeting the NGC 4874 subcluster arriving from the west. The two inner subcluster cores are presently beyond their first and second close passage, during which the elongated distribution of diffuse light has been created. We predict the kinematic signature expected in this scenario, and argue that the extended western X-ray arc recently discovered traces the arc shock generated by the collision between the two subcluster gas halos. Any preexisting cooling core region would have been heated by the subcluster collision.

Key words: ISM: planetary nebulae: general -- galaxies: cluster: general -- galaxies: cluster: individual: Coma cluster -- galaxies: evolution

© ESO 2007

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