The fusion of galactic clusters allows us to study the acceleration of electrons

The fusion of galactic clusters allows us to study the acceleration of electrons

The event of merging clusters of galaxies provides for the creation of natural laboratories for astronomers studying cosmic phenomena. In the specific case, the Abell 3376 fusion was used to study how electrons fly through the medium inside the cluster at relativistic velocities. The findings point to an acceleration mechanism - diffuse shock acceleration.

Now the Milky Way is on a collision course with the Andromeda Galaxy at a speed of more than 100 km / s. Will the sun collide with one of the stars, destroying the Earth and all living things? Fortunately, nothing like this will happen. The distance between the stars in the galaxy is so great that whether they are the size of table tennis balls, the distance between them reached 1000 km.

In fact, galaxies do not collide, but merge. The same goes for clusters of galaxies. They provide astronomers with the kind of space laboratories to study various types of phenomena, such as the acceleration of electrons passing through gas between galaxies in a gas. The researchers used the event of the merger of two clusters, named Abell 3376, to study the process of accelerating electrons to relativistic energies. During the confluence, the hot and scattered gas between the galaxies heats up and becomes turbulent. Astronomers call this the medium inside the cluster, which is incredibly airy (one particle per liter). The collision leads to shock waves propagating from the center to the edges of the cluster. The environment inside the cluster becomes hot and can be observed using X-rays in the XIS instrument at the Japanese Suzaku space telescope.

Scientists compared X-ray observations of shock waves on the outskirts of Abell 3376 with radio measurements in the same area. At the periphery, shock fronts are usually associated with radio emission due to direct electron acceleration due to diffuse shock acceleration or repeated acceleration of previously existing cosmic ray electrons. Researchers believe that in the case of Abell 3376, this is a diffuse shock acceleration.

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