Radio continuum observations of new radio halos and relics from the NVSS and WENSS surveys
Relic orientations, cluster X-ray luminosity, and redshift distributions
Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA
2 Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778, Tautenburg, Germany
3 Jacobs University Bremen, PO Box 750561, 28725 Bremen, Germany
4 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
5 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475, USA
Received: 27 April 2011
Accepted: 14 July 2011
Context. Radio halos and relics are diffuse radio sources found in galaxy clusters showing significant substructure at X-ray wavelengths. These sources provide important information about non-thermal processes taking place in the intracluster medium (ICM). Until now only a few dozen relics and halos are known, while models predict that a much larger number of these sources exist. In this paper we present the results of an extensive observing campaign to search for new diffuse radio sources in galaxy clusters.
Aims. The aim of the observations is to create a large sample of diffuse radio sources in galaxy clusters that help to understand the formation of radio relics and halos and can be used to probe the physical conditions of the ICM.
Methods. We carried out radio continuum observations with the Westerbork Synthese Radio Telescope (WSRT), Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) and Very Large Array (VLA) of clusters with diffuse radio emission visible in NVSS and WENSS survey images. Optical images were taken with the William Herschel and Isaac Newton Telescope (WHT, INT).
Results. We discovered 6 new radio relics, including a probable double relic system, and 2 radio halos. In addition, we confirm the presence of diffuse radio emission in four galaxy clusters. By constructing a sample of 35 radio relics we find that relics are mostly found along the major axis of the X-ray emission from the ICM, while their orientation is perpendicular to this axis. We also compared the X-ray luminosity and redshift distributions of clusters with relics to an X-ray selected sample from the NORAS and REFLEX surveys. We find tentative evidence for an increase of the cluster’s relic fraction with X-ray luminosity and redshift. The major and minor axis ratio distribution of the ICM for clusters with relics is broader than that of the NORAS-REFLEX sample.
Conclusions. The location and orientation of radio relics with respect to the ICM elongation is consistent with the scenario that relics trace merger shock waves.
Key words: galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium / radio continuum: galaxies / large-scale structure of Universe
© ESO, 2011