Radio and deep Chandra observations of the disturbed cool core cluster Abell 133

S. W. Randall, T. E. Clarke, P. E J Nulsen, M. S. Owers, C. L. Sarazin, W. R. Forman, S. S. Murray

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26 Citations (Scopus)


We present results based on new Chandra and multi-frequency radio observations of the disturbed cool core cluster Abell 133. The diffuse gas has a complex bird-like morphology, with a plume of emission extending from two symmetric wing-like features. The plume is capped with a filamentary radio structure that has been previously classified as a radio relic. X-ray spectral fits in the region of the relic indicate the presence of either high-temperature gas or non-thermal emission, although the measured photon index is flatter than would be expected if the non-thermal emission is from inverse Compton scattering of the cosmic microwave background by the radio-emitting particles. We find evidence for a weak elliptical X-ray surface brightness edge surrounding the core, which we show is consistent with a sloshing cold front. The plume is consistent with having formed due to uplift by a buoyantly rising radio bubble, now seen as the radio relic, and has properties consistent with buoyantly lifted plumes seen in other systems (e.g., M87). Alternatively, the plume may be a gas sloshing spiral viewed edge-on. Results from spectral analysis of the wing-like features are inconsistent with the previous suggestion that the wings formed due to the passage of a weak shock through the cool core. We instead conclude that the wings are due to X-ray cavities formed by displacement of X-ray gas by the radio relic. The central cD galaxy contains two small-scale cold gas clumps that are slightly offset from their optical and UV counterparts, suggestive of a galaxy-galaxy merger event. On larger scales, there is evidence for cluster substructure in both optical observations and the X-ray temperature map. We suggest that the Abell 133 cluster has recently undergone a merger event with an interloping subgroup, initialing gas sloshing in the core. The torus of sloshed gas is seen close to edge-on, leading to the somewhat ragged appearance of the elliptical surface brightness edge. We show that the additional buoyant force from a passing subcluster can have a significant effect on the rise trajectories of buoyant bubbles, although this effect alone cannot fully explain the morphology of Abell 133. The radio observations reveal a large-scale double-lobed structure not previously identified in the literature. We conclude that this structure represents a previously unreported background giant radio galaxy at z = 0.293, the northern lobe of which overlies the radio relic in the core of Abell 133. A rough estimate indicates that the contribution of this background lobe to the total radio emission in the region of the relic is modest (<13%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-846
Number of pages22
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: clusters: individual (Abell 133)
  • Intergalactic medium
  • Radio continuum: galaxies
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters


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