nIFTy Galaxy Cluster simulations VI. The dynamical imprint of substructure on gaseous cluster outskirts

C. Power*, P. J. Elahi, C. Welker, A. Knebe, F. R. Pearce, G. Yepes, R. Dave, S. T. Kay, I. G. McCarthy, E. Puchwein, S. Borgani, D. Cunnama, W. Cui, J. Schaye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Galaxy cluster outskirts mark the transition region from the mildly non-linear cosmic web to the highly non-linear, virialised, cluster interior. It is in this transition region that the intra-cluster medium (ICM) begins to influence the properties of accreting galaxies and groups, as ram pressure impacts a galaxy's cold gas content and subsequent star formation rate. Conversely, the thermodynamical properties of the ICM in this transition region should also feel the influence of accreting substructure (i.e. galaxies and groups), whose passage can drive shocks. In this paper, we use a suite of cosmological hydrodynamical zoom simulations of a single galaxy cluster, drawn from the nIFTy comparison project, to study how the dynamics of substructure accreted from the cosmic web influences the thermodynamical properties of the ICM in the cluster's outskirts. We demonstrate how features evident in radial profiles of the ICM (e.g. gas density and temperature) can be linked to strong shocks, transient and short-lived in nature, driven by the passage of substructure. The range of astrophysical codes and galaxy formation models in our comparison are broadly consistent in their predictions (e.g. agreeing when and where shocks occur, but differing in how strong shocks will be); this is as we would expect of a process driven by large-scale gravitational dynamics and strong, inefficiently radiating, shocks. This suggests that mapping such shock structures in the ICM in a cluster's outskirts (via e.g. radio synchrotron emission) could provide a complementary measure of its recent merger and accretion history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3923-3936
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date14 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • astro-ph.CO


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