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Analysis of RXTE data on Clusters of GalaxiesThis grant provided support for the reduction, analysis and interpretation of of hard X-ray (HXR, for short) observations of the cluster of galaxies RXJO658--5557 scheduled for the week of August 23, 2002 under the RXTE Cycle 7 program (PI Vahe Petrosian, Obs. ID 70165). The goal of the observation was to search for and characterize the shape of the HXR component beyond the well established thermal soft X-ray (SXR) component. Such hard components have been detected in several nearby clusters. distant cluster would provide information on the characteristics of this radiation at a different epoch in the evolution of the imiverse and shed light on its origin. We (Petrosian, 2001) have argued that thermal bremsstrahlung, as proposed earlier, cannot be the mechanism for the production of the HXRs and that the most likely mechanism is Compton upscattering of the cosmic microwave radiation by relativistic electrons which are known to be present in the clusters and be responsible for the observed radio emission. Based on this picture we estimated that this cluster, in spite of its relatively large distance, will have HXR signal comparable to the other nearby ones. The planned observation of a relatively The proposed RXTE observations were carried out and the data have been analyzed. We detect a hard X-ray tail in the spectrum of this cluster with a flux very nearly equal to our predicted value. This has strengthen the case for the Compton scattering model. We intend the data obtained via this observation to be a part of a larger data set. We have identified other clusters of galaxies (in archival RXTE and other instrument data sets) with sufficiently high quality data where we can search for and measure (or at least put meaningful limits) on the strength of the hard component. With these studies we expect to clarify the mechanism for acceleration of particles in the intercluster medium and provide guidance for future observations of this intriguing phenomenon by instrument on GLAST. The details of the nonthermal particle population has important implications for the theories of cluster formation, mergers and evolution. The results of this work were first presented at the High Energy Division meeting of the American astronomical Society at Mt. Tremblene, Canada (Petrosian et al. 2003). and in an invited review talk at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union at Sydney, Australia (Petrosian, 2003). A paper describe the observations, the data analysis and its implication is being prepared for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.
Document ID
Document Type
Contractor or Grantee Report
Petrosian, Vahe (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
May 17, 2004
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.