University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Monday, February 12th 2018
12:15 pm:
Speaker: Lawrence Rudnick, UMN
Subject: The Stormy Life of Galaxy Clusters

This is a modified version of my plenary talk from the recent AAS Meeting. Regular cosmo seminar attendees will have seen some of this before, but this talk puts things into a larger, and hopefully useful, context.

Galaxy clusters, the largest gravitationally bound structures, hold the full history of their baryonic evolution, serve as important cosmological tools and allow us to probe unique physical regimes in their diffuse plasmas. With characteristic dynamical timescales of 107-109 years, these diffuse thermal and relativistic media continue to evolve, as dark matter drives major mergers and more gentle continuing accretion. The history of this assembly is encoded in the plasmas, and a wide range of observational and theoretical investigations are aimed at decoding their signatures. X-ray temperature and density variations, low Mach number shocks, and "cold front" discontinuities all illuminate clusters' continued evolution. Radio structures and spectra are passive indicators of merger shocks, while radio galaxy distortions reveal the complex motions in the intracluster medium. Deep in cluster cores, AGNs associated with brightest cluster galaxies provide ongoing energy, and perhaps even stabilize the intracluster medium. In this talk, we will recount this evolving picture of the stormy ICM, and suggest areas of likely advance in the coming years.

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