Volume 647, March 2021
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Published online||11 March 2021|
Peering into the extended X-ray emission on megaparsec scale in 3C 187
Università degli Studi di Torino, via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Torino, Italy
2 INFN – Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Torino, via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Turin, Italy
3 INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino, via Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
4 Consorzio Interuniversitario per la Fisica Spaziale (CIFS), via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Torino, Italy
5 Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica, Apartado Postal 51-216, 72000 Puebla, Mexico
6 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via P. Gobetti 93/2, 40129 Bologna, Italy
7 Istituto di Radioastronomia, INAF, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
8 Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
9 University of Manitoba, Dept of Physics and Astronomy, Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2, Canada
Accepted: 19 December 2020
Context. The diffuse X-ray emission surrounding radio galaxies is generally interpreted either as due to inverse Compton scattering of nonthermal radio-emitting electrons on the cosmic microwave background (IC/CMB), or as due to thermal emission arising from the hot gas of the intergalactic medium (IGM) permeating galaxy clusters hosting such galaxies, or as a combination of both. In this work, we present an imaging and spectral analysis of Chandra observations for the radio galaxy 3C 187 to investigate its diffuse X-ray emission and constrain the contribution of these various physical mechanisms.
Aims. The main goals of this work are the following: (i) to evaluate the extension of the diffuse X-ray emission from this source; (ii) to investigate the two main processes, IC/CMB and thermal emission from the IGM, which can account for the origin of this emission; and (iii) to test the possibility that 3C 187 belongs to a cluster of galaxies, which can account for the observed diffuse X-ray emission.
Methods. To evaluate the extension of the X-ray emission around 3C 187, we extracted surface flux profiles along and across the radio axis. We also extracted X-ray spectra in the region of the radio lobes and in the cross-cone region to estimate the contribution of the nonthermal (IC/CMB) and thermal (IGM) processes to the observed emission, making use of radio (VLA and GMRT) data to investigate the multiwavelength emission arising from the lobes. We collected Pan-STARRS photometric data to investigate the presence of a galaxy cluster hosting 3C 187, looking for the presence of a “red sequence” in the source field in the form of a tight clustering of galaxies in the color space. In addition, we made use of observations performed with the COSMOS spectrograph at the Victor Blanco Telescope to estimate the redshift of the sources in the field of 3C 187 to verify if they are gravitationally bound, as we would expect in a cluster of galaxies.
Results. The diffuse X-ray emission around 3C 187 is found to extend in the soft 0.3 − 3 keV band up to ∼850 kpc along the radio lobe direction and ∼530 kpc in the cross-cone direction, and it appears enhanced in correspondence with the radio lobes. Spectral X-ray analysis in the cross-cones indicates a thermal origin for the emission in this region with a temperature ∼4 keV. In the radio lobes, the X-ray spectral analysis in combination with the radio data suggests a dominant IC/CMB radiation in these regions, however we do not rule out a significant thermal contribution. Assuming that the radiation observed in the radio lobes is due to the IGM, the emission from the N and S cones can be interpreted as arising from hot gas with temperatures of ∼3 keV and ∼5 keV, respectively, and found to be in pressure equilibrium with the surrounding gas. Using Pan-STARRS optical data we found that 3C 187 belongs to a red sequence of ∼40 optical sources in the field whose color distribution is significantly different from background sources. We were able to collect optical spectra for only one of these cluster candidates and for 22 field (i.e., noncluster candidates) sources. While the latter show stellar spectra, the former feature a galactic spectrum with a redshift close to 3C 187 nucleus.
Conclusions. The diffuse X-ray emission around 3C 187 is elongated along the radio axis and enhanced in correspondence with the radio lobes. This indicates a morphological connection between the emission in the two energy bands and thus suggests a dominating IC/CMB mechanism in these regions. This scenario is reinforced by multiwavelength radio X-ray emission, which in these regions is compatible with IC/CMB radiation. The X-ray spectral analysis however does not rule out a significant contribution to the observed emission from thermal gas, which would be able to emit over tens of gigayears and in pressure equilibrium with the surroundings. Optical data indicate that 3C 187 may belong to a cluster of galaxies, whose IGM would contribute to the X-ray emission observed around the source. Additional X-ray and optical spectroscopic observations are however needed to secure these results and get a more clear picture of the physical processes at play in 3C 187.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: individual: 3C 187 / ISM: jets and outflows / X-rays: ISM
© ESO 2021
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