Chandra Observations of the A3266 Galaxy Cluster Merger

Mark J. Henriksen, Eric R. Tittley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysis of a 30,000 s X-ray observation of the A3266 galaxy cluster with the ACIS on board the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has produced several new insights into the cluster merger. The intracluster medium has a nonmonotonically decreasing radial abundance profile. We argue that the most plausible origin for the abundance enhancement is unmixed, high-abundance subcluster gas from the merger. The enrichment consists of two stages: off-center deposition of a higher abundance material during a subcluster merger followed by a strong, localized intracluster wind that acts to drive out the light elements, producing the observed abundance enhancement. The wind is needed to account for both an increase in the heavy-element abundance and the lack of an enhancement in the gas density. Dynamical evidence for the wind includes (1) a large-scale, low surface brightness feature perpendicular to the merger axis that appears to be an asymmetric pattern of gas flow to the northwest, away from the center of the main cluster; (2) compressed gas in the opposite direction (toward the cluster center); and (3) the fact that the hottest regions visible in the temperature map coincide with the proposed merger geometry and the resultant gas flow. The Chandra data for the central region of the main cluster show a slightly cooler, filamentary region that is centered on the central cD galaxy and is aligned with the merger axis directly linking the dynamical state of the cD to the merger. Overall, the high spectral/spatial resolution Chandra observations support our earlier hypothesis that we are viewing a minor merger in the plane of the sky.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-709
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002


  • Galaxies: Clusters: Individual: Name: Abell 3266
  • Galaxies: Intergalactic Medium
  • X-Rays: Galaxies: Clusters


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