Volume 646, February 2021
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||18 February 2021|
Physical insights from the spectrum of the radio halo in MACS J0717.5+3745
Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Universitát di Bologna, Via P. Gobetti 93/2, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 INAF-Istituto di Radio Astronomia, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3 Thüringer Landessternwarte, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
4 Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
5 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
6 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
7 Astronomy & Astrophysics Division, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad 380009, India
8 ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
Accepted: 25 December 2020
We present new LOw-Frequency ARray observations of the massive merging galaxy cluster MACS J0717.5+3745, located at a redshift of 0.5458. The cluster hosts the most powerful radio halo known to date. These new observations, in combination with published uGMRT (300−850 MHz) and VLA (1−6.5 GHz) data, reveal that the halo is more extended than previously thought, with a largest linear size of ∼2.2 Mpc, making it one of the largest known halos. The halo shows a steep spectrum (α144 MHz1.5 GHz ∼ −1.4) and a steepening (α1.5 GHz5.5 GHz ∼ −1.9) above 1.5 GHz. We find a strong scattering in spectral index maps on scales of 50−100 kpc. We suggest that such a strong scattering may be a consequence of the regime where inverse Compton dominates the energy losses of electrons. The spectral index becomes steeper and shows an increased curvature in the outermost regions of the halo. We combined the radio data with Chandra observations to investigate the connection between the thermal and nonthermal components of the intracluster medium (ICM). Despite a significant substructure in the halo emission, the radio brightness correlates strongly with the X-ray brightness at all observed frequencies. The radio-versus-X-ray brightness correlation slope steepens at a higher radio frequency (from b144 MHz = 0.67 ± 0.05 to b3.0 GHz = 0.98 ± 0.09) and the spectral index shows a significant anticorrelation with the X-ray brightness. Both pieces of evidence further support a spectral steepening in the external regions. The compelling evidence for a steep spectral index, the existence of a spectral break above 1.5 GHz, and the dependence of radio and X-ray surface brightness correlation on frequency are interpreted in the context of turbulent reacceleration models. Under this scenario, our results allowed us to constrain that the turbulent kinetic pressure of the ICM is up to 10%.
Key words: galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: clusters: individual: MACS J0717.5+3745 / acceleration of particles / galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium / magnetic fields / turbulence
© ESO 2021
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