The two-component giant radio halo in the galaxy cluster Abell 2142
1 INAF–Istituto di Radioastronomia, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 INAF–IASF-Milano, via Bassini 15, 20133 Milano, Italy
3 Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, 116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA
4 Cray, Inc., 380 Jackson Street, Suite 210, St. Paul, MN 55101, USA
5 Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA
6 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742-2421, USA
7 National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, TIFR, Post Bag 3, Ganeshkhind, 411007 Pune, India
8 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
9 Department of Astronomy, University of Geneva, ch. d’Écogia 16, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
10 Australian Astronomical Observatory, PO Box 915, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia
11 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Maquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
Received: 4 November 2016
Accepted: 10 March 2017
Aims. We report on a spectral study at radio frequencies of the giant radio halo in A 2142 (z = 0.0909), which we performed to explore its nature and origin. The optical and X-ray properties of the cluster suggest that A 2142 is not a major merger and the presence of a giant radio halo is somewhat surprising.
Methods. We performed deep radio observations of A 2142 with the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) at 608 MHz, 322 MHz, and 234 MHz and with the Very Large Array (VLA) in the 1–2 GHz band. We obtained high-quality images at all frequencies in a wide range of resolutions, from the galaxy scale, i.e. ~5′′, up to ~60′′ to image the diffuse cluster–scale emission. The radio halo is well detected at all frequencies and extends out to the most distant cold front in A 2142, about 1 Mpc away from the cluster centre. We studied the spectral index in two regions: the central part of the halo, where the X–ray emission peaks and the two brightest dominant galaxies are located; and a second region, known as the ridge (in the direction of the most distant south–eastern cold front), selected to follow the bright part of the halo and X-ray emission. We complemented our deep observations with a preliminary LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) image at 118 MHz and with the re-analysis of archival VLA data at 1.4 GHz.
Results. The two components of the radio halo show different observational properties. The central brightest part has higher surface brightess and a spectrum whose steepness is similar to those of the known radio halos, i.e. α1.78 GHz118 MHz = 1.33 ± 0.08 . The ridge, which fades into the larger scale emission, is broader in size and has considerably lower surface brightess and a moderately steeper spectrum, i.e. α1.78 GHz118 MHz ~ 1.5. We propose that the brightest part of the radio halo is powered by the central sloshing in A 2142, in a process similar to what has been suggested for mini-halos, or by secondary electrons generated by hadronic collisions in the ICM. On the other hand, the steeper ridge may probe particle re-acceleration by turbulence generated either by stirring the gas and magnetic fields on a larger scale or by less energetic mechanisms, such as continuous infall of galaxy groups or an off-axis (minor) merger.
Key words: galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: clusters: individual: A 2142 / radio continuum: general
© ESO, 2017