261 research outputs found

    A stringent upper limit to 18cm radio emission from the extrasolar planet system tau Bootis

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    Context: It has been speculated for many years that some extrasolar planets may emit strong cyclotron emission at low radio frequencies in the range 10-100 MHz. Despite several attempts no such emission has yet been seen. Aims: The hot Jupiter system tau Bootis is one of the nearest (d=15 pc) exoplanets known to date. The gravitational influence of this massive hot Jupiter (M=6 M_jup) has locked the star-planet system, making the star rotate in P~3.3 days, similar to the orbital period of the planet. From the well established correlation between stellar rotation and radio luminosity, it is conceivable that the tau Bootis system emits strong radio emission at significantly higher frequencies than currently probed, which we aimed to investigate with this work. Methods: We observed tau Bootis with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) at a frequency of 1.7 GHz. for 12 hours in spectral line mode, reaching a noise level of 42 microJy/beam at the position of the target. Results: No 18cm radio emission is detected from tau Bootis, resulting in a 3 sigma upper limit of 0.13 mJy, corresponding to a 18cm radio luminosity of <3.7e13 erg/s/Hz. We observe tau Bootis to be two orders of magnitude fainter than expected from the stellar relation between radio luminosity and rotation velocity. Conclusions: This implies that either the tau Bootis system is underluminous in the radio compared to similar fast-rotating stars, or that we happened to observe the target during a low state of radio emission.Comment: 4 pages, 1 figure: Accepted for publication in A&

    Unveiling radio halos in galaxy clusters in the LOFAR era

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    Giant radio halos are mega-parsec scale synchrotron sources detected in a fraction of massive and merging galaxy clusters. Radio halos provide one of the most important pieces of evidence for non-thermal components in large scale structure. Statistics of their properties can be used to discriminate among various models for their origin. Therefore, theoretical predictions of the occurrence of radio halos are important as several new radio telescopes are about to begin to survey the sky at low frequencies with unprecedented sensitivity. In this paper we carry out Monte Carlo simulations to model the formation and evolution of radio halos in a cosmological framework. We extend previous works on the statistical properties of radio halos in the context of the turbulent re-acceleration model. First we compute the fraction of galaxy clusters that show radio halos and derive the luminosity function of radio halos. Then, we derive differential and integrated number count distributions of radio halos at low radio frequencies with the main goal to explore the potential of the upcoming LOFAR surveys. By restricting to the case of clusters at redshifts <0.6, we find that the planned LOFAR all sky survey at 120 MHz is expected to detect about 350 giant radio halos. About half of these halos have spectral indices larger than 1.9 and substantially brighten at lower frequencies. If detected they will allow for a confirmation that turbulence accelerates the emitting particles. We expect that also commissioning surveys, such as MSSS, have the potential to detect about 60 radio halos in clusters of the ROSAT Brightest Cluster Sample and its extension (eBCS). These surveys will allow us to constrain how the rate of formation of radio halos in these clusters depends on cluster mass.Comment: 12 pages, 12 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Diffuse radio emission in the merging cluster MACS J0717.5+3745: the discovery of the most powerful radio halo

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    Hierarchical models of structure formation predict that galaxy clusters grow via mergers of smaller clusters and galaxy groups, as well as through continuous accretion of gas. MACS J0717.5+3745 is an X-ray luminous and complex merging cluster, located at a redshift of 0.55. Here we present Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) radio observations at 610 MHz of this cluster. The main aim of the observations is to search for diffuse radio emission within the galaxy cluster MACS J0717.5+3745 related to the ongoing merger. These GMRT observations are complemented by Very Large Array (VLA) archival observations at 1.4, 4.9 and 8.5 GHz. We have discovered a radio halo in the cluster MACS J0717.5+3745 with a size of about 1.2 Mpc. The radio power P_1.4 GHz is 5 x 10^25 W/Hz, which makes it the most powerful radio halo known till date. A 700 kpc radio structure, which we classify as a radio relic, is located in between the merging substructures of the system. The location of this relic roughly coincides with regions of the intra-cluster medium (ICM) that have a significant enhancement in temperature as shown by Chandra. The major axis of the relic is also roughly perpendicular to the merger axis. This shows that the relic might be the result of a merger-related shock wave, where particles are accelerated via the diffuse shock acceleration (DSA) mechanism. Alternatively, the relic might trace an accretion shock of a large-scale galaxy filament to the south-west. The global spectral index of radio emission within the cluster is found to be -1.24 +/-0.05 between 4.9 GHz and 610 MHz. We derive a value of 5.8 microGauss for the equipartition magnetic field strength at the location of the radio halo. [abridged].Comment: 8 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in A&A on August 3, 200

    A vestige low metallicity gas shell surrounding the radio galaxy 0943-242 at z=2.92

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    Observations are presented showing the doublet CIV 1550 absorption lines superimposed on the CIV emission in the radio galaxy 0943-242. Within the errors, the redshift of the absorption system that has a column density of N_CIV = 10^{14.5 +- 0.1} cm-2 coincides with that of the deep Ly-alpha absorption trough observed by Rottgering et al. (1995). The gas seen in absorption has a resolved spatial extent of at least 13 kpc (the size of the extended emission line region). We first model the absorption and emission gas as co-spatial components with the same metallicity and degree of excitation. Using the information provided by the emission and absorption line ratios of CIV and Ly-alpha, we find that the observed quantities are incompatible with photoionization or collisional ionization of cloudlets with uniform properties. We therefore reject the possibility that the absorption and emission phases are co-spatial and favour the explanation that the absorption gas has low metallicity and is located further away from the host galaxy (than the emission line gas). The estimated low metallicity for the absorption gas in 0943-242 (Z \~ 1% solar) and its proposed location -outer halo outside the radio cocoon- suggest that its existence preceeds the observed AGN phase and is a vestige of the initial starburst at the onset of formation of the parent galaxy.Comment: 11 pages,5 figures, A&A accepte

    A moving cold front in the intergalactic medium of A3667

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    We present results from a Chandra observation of the central region of the galaxy cluster A3667, with emphasis on the prominent sharp X-ray brightness edge spanning 0.5 Mpc near the cluster core. Our temperature map shows large-scale nonuniformities characteristic of the ongoing merger, in agreement with earlier ASCA results. The brightness edge turns out to be a boundary of a large cool gas cloud moving through the hot ambient gas, very similar to the "cold fronts" discovered by Chandra in A2142. The higher quality of the A3667 data allows the direct determination of the cloud velocity. At the leading edge of the cloud, the gas density abruptly increases by a factor of 3.9+-0.8, while the temperature decreases by a factor of 1.9+-0.2 (from 7.7 keV to 4.1 keV). The ratio of the gas pressures inside and outside the front shows that the cloud moves through the ambient gas at near-sonic velocity, M=1+-0.2 or v=1400+-300 km/s. In front of the cloud, we observe the compression of the ambient gas with an amplitude expected for such a velocity. A smaller surface brightness discontinuity is observed further ahead, ~350 kpc in front of the cloud. We suggest that it corresponds to a weak bow shock, implying that the cloud velocity may be slightly supersonic. Given all the evidence, the cold front appears to delineate the remnant of a cool subcluster that recently has merged with A3667. The cold front is remarkably sharp. The upper limit on its width, 3.5 arcsec or 5 kpc, is several times smaller than the Coulomb mean free path. This is a direct observation of suppression of the transport processes in the intergalactic medium, most likely by magnetic fields.Comment: Submitted to ApJ. 9 pages with embedded color figures, uses emulateapj5. Postscript with higher quality figures is available at http://hea-www.harvard.edu/~alexey/a3667-hydro.ps.g

    The radio source B 1834+620: A double-double radio galaxy with interesting properties

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    We present a study of the peculiar radio galaxy B 1834+620. It is characterised by the presence of a 420-kpc large edge-brightened radio source which is situated within, and well aligned with, a larger (1.66 Mpc) radio source. Both sources apparently originate in the same host galaxy, which has a R_s-magnitude of 19.7 and a redshift of 0.5194, as determined from the strong emission-lines in the spectrum. We have determined the rotation measures towards this source, as well as the radio spectral energy distribution of its components. The radio spectrum of the large outer source is steeper than that of the smaller inner source. The radio core has a spectrum that peaks at a frequency of a few GHz. The rotation measures towards the four main components are quite similar, within  ⁣2\sim\!2 rad m2^{-2} of 58 rad m2^{-2}. They are probably largely galactic in origin. We have used the presence of a bright hotspot in the northern outer lobe to constrain the advance velocity of the inner radio lobes to the range between 0.19c and 0.29c, depending on the orientation of the source. This corresponds to an age of this structure in the range between 2.6 and 5.8 Myr. We estimate a density of the ambient medium of the inner lobes of \la 1.6 \times 10^{-30} gr\,cm3^{-3} (particle density \la 8 \times 10^{-7} cm3^{-3}). A low ambient density is further supported by the discrepancy between the large optical emission-line luminosity of the host galaxy and the relatively low radio power of the inner lobes.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRA

    Particle Acceleration on Megaparsec Scales in a Merging Galaxy Cluster

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    Galaxy clusters form through a sequence of mergers of smaller galaxy clusters and groups. Models of diffusive shock acceleration (DSA) suggest that in shocks that occur during cluster mergers, particles are accelerated to relativistic energies, similar to supernova remnants. Together with magnetic fields these particles emit synchrotron radiation and may form so-called radio relics. Here we report the detection of a radio relic for which we find highly aligned magnetic fields, a strong spectral index gradient, and a narrow relic width, giving a measure of the magnetic field in an unexplored site of the universe. Our observations prove that DSA also operates on scales much larger than in supernova remnants and that shocks in galaxy clusters are capable of producing extremely energetic cosmic rays.Comment: Published in Science Express on 23 September 2010, 6 figures, Supporting Online Material included. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science, volume 330, 15 October 201
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