Brightest cluster galaxies in the extended GMRT radio halo cluster sample
Radio properties and cluster dynamics
1 INAF–Istituto di Radioastronomia, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Post Bag 3, Ganeshkind, Pune 411007, India
3 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2421, USA
4 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico, via Ranzani 1, 40126 Bologna, Italy
5 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Universitá di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Received: 17 April 2015
Accepted: 17 June 2015
Aims. First-ranked galaxies in clusters, usually referred to as brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), show exceptional properties over the whole electromagnetic spectrum. They are the most massive elliptical galaxies and show the highest probability to be radio loud. Moreover, their special location at the centres of galaxy clusters raises the question of the role of the environment in shaping their radio properties. In the attempt to separate the effect of the galaxy mass and of the environment on their statistical radio properties, we investigate the possible dependence of the occurrence of radio loudness and of the fractional radio luminosity function on the dynamical state of the hosting cluster.
Methods. We studied the radio properties of the BCGs in the Extended GMRT Radio Halo Survey (EGRHS), which consists of 65 clusters in the redshift range 0.2–0.4, with X-ray luminosity LX ≥ 5 × 1044 erg s-1, and quantitative information on their dynamical state from high-quality Chandra imaging. We obtained a statistical sample of 59 BCGs, which we divided into two classes, depending on whether the dynamical state of the host cluster was merging (M) or relaxed (R).
Results. Of the 59 BCGs, 28 are radio loud and 31 are radio quiet. The radio-loud sources are favourably located in relaxed clusters (71%), while the reverse is true for the radio-quiet BCGs, which are mostly located in merging systems (81%). The fractional radio luminosity function for the BCGs in merging and relaxed clusters is different, and it is considerably higher for BCGs in relaxed clusters, where the total fraction of radio loudness reaches almost 90%, to be compared to the ~30% in merging clusters. For relaxed clusters, we found a positive correlation between the radio power of the BCGs and the strength of the cool core, consistent with previous studies on local samples.
Conclusions. Our study suggests that the radio loudness of the BCGs strongly depends on the cluster dynamics; their fraction is considerably higher in relaxed clusters. We compare our results with similar investigations and briefly discuss them in the framework of AGN feedback.
Key words: radio continuum: galaxies / galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: active / X-rays: galaxies: clusters
© ESO, 2015