Star formation in shocked cluster spirals and their tails

E. Roediger*, M. Brüggen, M. S. Owers, H. Ebeling, M. Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Recent observations of ram pressure stripped spiral galaxies in clusters revealed details of the stripping process, i.e. the truncation of all interstellarmedium phases and of star formation (SF) in the disc, and multiphase star-forming tails. Some stripped galaxies, in particular in merging clusters, develop spectacular star-forming tails, giving them a jellyfish-like appearance. In merging clusters, merger shocks in the intracluster medium (ICM) are thought to have overrun these galaxies, enhancing the ambient ICM pressure and thus triggering SF, gas stripping, and tail formation. We present idealized hydrodynamical simulations of this scenario, including standard descriptions for SF and stellar feedback. To aid the interpretation of recent and upcoming observations, we focus on particular structures and dynamics in SF patterns in the remaining gas disc and in the near tails, which are easiest to observe. The observed jellyfish morphology is qualitatively reproduced for, both, face-on and edge-on stripping. In edge-on stripping, the interplay between the ICM wind and the disc rotation leads to asymmetries along the ICM wind direction and perpendicular to it. The apparent tail is still part of a highly deformed gaseous and young stellar disc. In both geometries, SF takes place in knots throughout the tail, such that the stars in the tails show no ordered age gradients. Significant SF enhancement in the disc occurs only at radii where the gas will be stripped in due course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L114-L118
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: spiral
  • galaxies: star formation
  • ISM: general


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