Radio spectral study of the cluster of galaxies Abell 2255
Kapteyn Institute, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
2 ASTRON, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
Accepted: 31 August 2009
Context. The study of the nonthermal components associated with the intra cluster medium (ICM) in galaxy clusters is important in understanding the history and evolution of clusters.
Aims. Spectral index studies of halos, relics, and radio galaxies provide useful information on their origin and connection with merger processes. Moreover, they reveal the energy spectrum of the relativistic particles and the magnetic field distribution in galaxy clusters.
Methods. We present WSRT multi-wavelength observations of the galaxy cluster Abell 2255 at 25 cm, 85 cm, and 2 m. The spectral index images allowed us to study the integrated spectrum of halo and relic and to investigate the physical properties of the Beaver head-tail radio galaxy belonging to the cluster.
Results. In the radio halo, the spectral index is steeper at the center and flatter at the locations of the radio filaments, clearly detected at 25 cm. In the relics, the spectral index flattens, moving away from the cluster center. For the Beaver radio galaxy, the spectrum severely steepens from the head towards the end of the tail, because of the energy losses suffered by the relativistic particles. In the 2 m map, which is the first high-sensitivity image presented in the literature at such a long wavelength, a new Mpc-size emission region is detected between the known radio halo and the NW relic. Not detecting this feature in the more sensitive 85 cm observations implies that it must have a very steep spectrum ().
Conclusions. The observational properties of the radio halo suggest that either we are looking at a superposition of different structures (filaments in the foreground plus real halo in the background) seen in projection across the cluster center or that the halo is intrinsically peculiar. The newly detected extended region to the NW of the halo could be considered as an asymmetric extension of the halo itself. However, since radio halos are known in the literature as structures showing a regular morphology, the new feature could represent the first example of steep Mpc-size diffuse structures (MDS), detected around clusters at very low frequencies. The spectrum of the initial part of the tail of the Beaver, detected at the three wavelengths, is well-fitted by a single injection model.
Key words: galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: clusters: individual: Abell 2255 / galaxies: intergalactic medium
© ESO, 2009