Early Science from POSSUM: Shocks, turbulence, and a massive new reservoir of ionised gas in the Fornax cluster
Abstract We present the first Faraday rotation measure (RM) grid study of an individual low-mass cluster—the Fornax cluster—which is presently undergoing a series of mergers. Exploiting commissioning data for the POlarisation Sky Survey of the Universe’s Magnetism (POSSUM) covering a ${\sim}34$ square degree sky area using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), we achieve an RM grid density of ${\sim}25$ RMs per square degree from a 280-MHz band centred at 887 MHz, which is similar to expectations for forthcoming GHz-frequency ${\sim}3\pi$ -steradian sky surveys. These data allow us to probe the extended magnetoionic structure of the cluster and its surroundings in unprecedented detail. We find that the scatter in the Faraday RM of confirmed background sources is increased by $16.8\pm2.4$ rad m −2 within 1 $^\circ$ (360 kpc) projected distance to the cluster centre, which is 2–4 times larger than the spatial extent of the presently detectable X-ray-emitting intracluster medium (ICM). The mass of the Faraday-active plasma is larger than that of the X-ray-emitting ICM and exists in a density regime that broadly matches expectations for moderately dense components of the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium. We argue that forthcoming RM grids from both targeted and survey observations may be a more »
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10227977
Journal Name:
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Volume:
38
ISSN:
1323-3580
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