The spectacular cluster chain Abell 781 as observed with LOFAR, GMRT, and XMM-Newton
1 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via P. Gobetti 93/2, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 INAF – IRA, via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3 ASTRON, The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
4 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
5 Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
6 INAF – IASF Milano, via E. Bassini 15, 20133 Milano, Italy
7 Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
8 Thüringer Landessternwarte, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
9 Mbarara University of Science & Technology, PO Box 1410 Mbarara, Uganda
10 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Postbus 94249, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
11 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
Accepted: 16 August 2018
Context. A number of merging galaxy clusters show the presence of large-scale radio emission associated with the intra-cluster medium (ICM). These synchrotron sources are generally classified as radio haloes and radio relics.
Aims. Whilst it is commonly accepted that mergers play a crucial role in the formation of radio haloes and relics, not all the merging clusters show the presence of giant diffuse radio sources and this provides important information concerning current models. The Abell 781 complex is a spectacular system composed of an apparent chain of clusters on the sky. Its main component is undergoing a merger and hosts peripheral emission that is classified as a candidate radio relic and a disputed radio halo.
Methods. We used new LOw Frequency ARay (LOFAR) observations at 143 MHz and archival Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) observations at 325 and 610 MHz to study radio emission from non-thermal components in the ICM of Abell 781. Complementary information came from XMM-Newton data, which allowed us to investigate the connection with the thermal emission and its complex morphology.
Results. The origin of the peripheral emission is still uncertain. We speculate that it is related to the interaction between a head tail radio galaxy and shock. However, the current data allow us only to set an upper limit of ℳ < 1.4 on the Mach number of this putative shock. Instead, we successfully characterise the surface brightness and temperature jumps of a shock and two cold fronts in the main cluster component of Abell 781. Their positions suggest that the merger is involving three substructures. We do not find any evidence for a radio halo either at the centre of this system or in the other clusters of the chain. We place an upper limit to the diffuse radio emission in the main cluster of Abell 781 that is a factor of 2 below the current radio power-mass relation for giant radio haloes.
Key words: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / radiation mechanisms: thermal / galaxies: clusters: general / galaxies: clusters: individual: A781 / galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium / radio continuum: general
© ESO 2019