Physics and Astronomy
The densities in the outer regions of clusters of galaxies are very low, and the collisional timescales are very long. As a result, heavy elements will be under-ionized after they have passed through the accretion shock. We have studied systematically the effects of non-equilibrium ionization for relaxed clusters in the ΛCDM cosmology using one-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations. We found that non-equilibrium ionization effects do not depend on cluster mass, but depend strongly on redshift which can be understood by self-similar scaling arguments. The effects are stronger for clusters at lower redshifts. We present X-ray signatures such as surface brightness profiles and emission lines in detail for a massive cluster at low redshift. In general, soft emission (0.3-1.0 keV) is enhanced significantly by under-ionization, and the enhancement can be nearly an order of magnitude near the shock radius. The most prominent non-equilibrium ionization signature we found is the O VII and O VIII line ratio. The ratios for non-equilibrium ionization and collisional ionization equilibrium models are different by more than an order of magnitude at radii beyond half of the shock radius. These non-equilibrium ionization signatures are equally strong for models with different non-adiabatic shock electron heating efficiencies. We have also calculated the detectability of the O VII and O VIII lines with the future International X-ray Observatory (IXO). Depending on the line ratio measured, we conclude that an exposure of ~130-380 ks on a moderate-redshift, massive regular cluster with the X-ray Microcalorimeter Spectrometer (XMS) on the IXO will be sufficient to provide a strong test for the non-equilibrium ionization model.
The Astrophysical Journal
X-Ray Signatures of Non-Equilibrium Ionization Effects in Galaxy Cluster Accretion Shock Regions. Wong, K.-W., Sarazin, C. L., & Ji, L. 2011, ApJ, 727,126.
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© 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.
Originally published in The Astrophysical Journal, volume 727, issue 2, article 126, 12 pp., 2011, February 1. Available online at: http://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/727/2/126.
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