Shocking tails in the major merger Abell 2744

Matt S. Owers*, Warrick J. Couch, Paul E J Nulsen, Scott W. Randall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We identify four rare "jellyfish" galaxies in Hubble Space Telescope imagery of the major merger cluster Abell 2744. These galaxies harbor trails of star-forming knots and filaments which have formed in situ in gas tails stripped from the parent galaxies, indicating they are in the process of being transformed by the environment. Further evidence for rapid transformation in these galaxies comes from their optical spectra, which reveal starburst, poststarburst, and active galactic nucleus features. Most intriguingly, three of the jellyfish galaxies lie near intracluster medium features associated with a merging "Bullet-like" subcluster and its shock front detected in Chandra X-ray images. We suggest that the high-pressure merger environment may be responsible for the star formation in the gaseous tails. This provides observational evidence for the rapid transformation of galaxies during the violent core passage phase of a major cluster merger.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL23
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume750
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • galaxies: clusters: individual (Abell 2744)
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters

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