The Outer Limits of Galaxy Clusters: Observations to the Virial Radius with Suzaku, XMM, and Chandra

Kavli Affiliate: Marshall Bautz

| First 5 Authors: Eric D. Miller, Marshall Bautz, Jithin George, Richard Mushotzky, David Davis

| Summary:

The outskirts of galaxy clusters, near the virial radius, remain relatively
unexplored territory and yet are vital to our understanding of cluster growth,
structure, and mass. In this presentation, we show the first results from a
program to constrain the state of the outer intracluster medium (ICM) in a
large sample of galaxy clusters, exploiting the strengths of three
complementary X-ray observatories: Suzaku (low, stable background), XMM-Newton
(high sensitivity), and Chandra (good spatial resolution). By carefully
combining observations from the cluster core to beyond r_200, we are able to
identify and reduce systematic uncertainties that would impede our spatial and
spectral analysis using a single telescope. Our sample comprises nine clusters
at z ~ 0.1-0.2 fully covered in azimuth to beyond r_200, and our analysis
indicates that the ICM is not in hydrostatic equilibrium in the cluster
outskirts, where we see clear azimuthal variations in temperature and surface
brightness. In one of the clusters, we are able to measure the diffuse X-ray
emission well beyond r_200, and we find that the entropy profile and the gas
fraction are consistent with expectations from theory and numerical
simulations. These results stand in contrast to recent studies which point to
gas clumping in the outskirts; the extent to which differences of cluster
environment or instrumental effects factor in this difference remains unclear.
From a broader perspective, this project will produce a sizeable fiducial data
set for detailed comparison with high-resolution numerical simulations.

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