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  1. Context. During their lifetimes, galaxy clusters grow through the accretion of matter from the filaments of the large-scale structure and from mergers with other clusters. These mergers release a large amount of energy into the intracluster medium (ICM) through merger shocks and turbulence. These phenomena are associated with the formation of radio sources known as radio relics and radio halos, respectively. Radio relics and halos are unique proxies for studying the complex properties of these dynamically active regions of clusters and the microphysics of the ICM more generally. Aims. Abell 3667 is a spectacular example of a merging system thatmore »hosts a large pair of radio relics. Due to its proximity ( z  = 0.0553) and large mass, the system enables the study of these sources to a uniquely high level of detail. However, being located at Dec = −56.8°, the cluster could only be observed with a limited number of radio facilities. Methods. We observed Abell 3667 with MeerKAT as part of the MeerKAT Galaxy Cluster Legacy Survey. We used these data to study the large-scale emission of the cluster, including its polarisation and spectral properties. The results were then compared with simulations. Results. We present the most detailed view of the radio relic system in Abell 3667 to date, with a resolution reaching 3 kpc. The relics are filled with a network of filaments with different spectral and polarisation properties that are likely associated with multiple regions of particle acceleration and local enhancements of the magnetic field. Conversely, the magnetic field in the space between filaments has strengths close to what would be expected in unperturbed regions at the same cluster-centric distance. Comparisons with magnetohydrodynamic cosmological and Lagrangian simulations support the idea of filaments as multiple acceleration sites. Our observations also confirm the presence of an elongated radio halo, developed in the wake of the bullet-like sub-cluster that merged from the south-east. Finally, we associate the process of magnetic draping with a thin polarised radio source surrounding the remnant of the bullet’s cool core. Conclusions. Our observations have unveiled the complexity of the interplay between the thermal and non-thermal components in the most active regions of a merging cluster. Both the intricate internal structure of radio relics and the direct detection of magnetic draping around the merging bullet are powerful examples of the non-trivial magnetic properties of the ICM. Thanks to its sensitivity to polarised radiation, MeerKAT will be transformational in the study of these complex phenomena.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  2. We present wideband (1 − 6.5 GHz) polarimetric observations, obtained with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, of the merging galaxy cluster MACS J0717.5+3745, which hosts one of the most complex known radio relic and halo systems. We used both rotation measure synthesis and QU -fitting to find a reasonable agreement of the results obtained with these methods, particularly when the Faraday distribution is simple and the depolarization is mild. The relic is highly polarized over its entire length (850 kpc), reaching a fractional polarization > 30% in some regions. We also observe a strong wavelength-dependent depolarization for somemore »regions of the relic. The northern part of the relic shows a complex Faraday distribution, suggesting that this region is located in or behind the intracluster medium (ICM). Conversely, the southern part of the relic shows a rotation measure very close to the Galactic foreground, with a rather low Faraday dispersion, indicating very little magnetoionic material intervening along the line of sight. Based on a spatially resolved polarization analysis, we find that the scatter of Faraday depths is correlated with the depolarization, indicating that the tangled magnetic field in the ICM causes the depolarization. We conclude that the ICM magnetic field could be highly turbulent. At the position of a well known narrow-angle-tailed galaxy (NAT), we find evidence of two components that are clearly separated in the Faraday space. The high Faraday dispersion component seems to be associated with the NAT, suggesting the NAT is embedded in the ICM while the southern part of the relic lies in front of it. If true, this implies that the relic and this radio galaxy are not necessarily physically connected and, thus, the relic may, in fact, not be powered by the shock re-acceleration of fossil electrons from the NAT. The magnetic field orientation follows the relic structure indicating a well-ordered magnetic field. We also detected polarized emission in the halo region; however, the absence of significant Faraday rotation and a low value of Faraday dispersion suggests the polarized emission that was previously considered as the part of the halo does, in fact, originate from the shock(s).« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT We present the first high-resolution 230–470 MHz map of the Perseus cluster obtained with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. The high dynamic range and resolution achieved have allowed the identification of previously unknown structures in this nearby galaxy cluster. New hints of sub-structures appear in the inner radio lobes of the brightest cluster galaxy NGC 1275. The spurs of radio emission extending into the outer X-ray cavities, inflated by past nuclear outbursts, are seen for the first time at these frequencies, consistent with spectral aging. Beyond NGC 1275, we also analyse complex radio sources harboured in the cluster.more »Two new distinct, narrowly collimated jets are visible in IC 310, consistent with a highly projected narrow-angle tail radio galaxy infalling into the cluster. We show how this is in agreement with its blazar-like behaviour, implying that blazars and bent-jet radio galaxies are not mutually exclusive. We report the presence of filamentary structures across the entire tail of NGC 1265, including two new pairs of long filaments in the faintest bent extension of the tail. Such filaments have been seen in other cluster radio sources such as relics and radio lobes, indicating that there may be a fundamental connection between all these radio structures. We resolve the very narrow and straight tail of CR 15 without indication of double jets, so that the interpretation of such head–tail sources is yet unclear. Finally, we note that only the brightest western parts of the mini-halo remain, near NGC 1272 and its bent double jets.« less
  4. Radio relics are diffuse, extended synchrotron sources that originate from shock fronts generated during cluster mergers. The massive merging galaxy cluster MACS J0717.5+3745 hosts one of the more complex relics known to date. We present upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope band 3 (300−500 MHz) and band 4 (550−850 MHz) observations. These new observations, combined with published VLA and the new LOFAR HBA data, allow us to carry out a detailed, high spatial resolution spectral analysis of the relic over a broad range of frequencies. The integrated spectrum of the relic closely follows a power law between 144 MHz and 5.5more »GHz with a mean spectral slope α  = −1.16 ± 0.03. Despite the complex morphology of this relic, its subregions and the other isolated filaments also follow power-law behaviors, and show similar spectral slopes. Assuming diffusive shock acceleration, we estimated a dominant Mach number of ∼3.7 for the shocks that make up the relic. A comparison with recent numerical simulations suggests that in the case of radio relics, the slopes of the integrated radio spectra are determined by the Mach number of the accelerating shock, with α nearly constant, namely between −1.13 and −1.17, for Mach numbers 3.5 − 4.0. The spectral shapes inferred from spatially resolved regions show curvature, we speculate that the relic is inclined along the line of sight. The locus of points in the simulated color-color plots changes significantly with the relic viewing angle. We conclude that projection effects and inhomogeneities in the shock Mach number dominate the observed spectral properties of the relic in this complex system. Based on the new observations we raise the possibility that the relic and a narrow-angle-tailed radio galaxy are two different structures projected along the same line of sight.« less
  5. MeerKAT’s large number (64) of 13.5 m diameter antennas, spanning 8 km with a densely packed 1 km core, create a powerful instrument for wide-area surveys, with high sensitivity over a wide range of angular scales. The MeerKAT Galaxy Cluster Legacy Survey (MGCLS) is a programme of long-track MeerKAT L -band (900−1670 MHz) observations of 115 galaxy clusters, observed for ∼6−10 h each in full polarisation. The first legacy product data release (DR1), made available with this paper, includes the MeerKAT visibilities, basic image cubes at ∼8″ resolution, and enhanced spectral and polarisation image cubes at ∼8″ and 15″ resolutions.more »Typical sensitivities for the full-resolution MGCLS image products range from ∼3−5 μJy beam −1 . The basic cubes are full-field and span 2° × 2°. The enhanced products consist of the inner 1.2° × 1.2° field of view, corrected for the primary beam. The survey is fully sensitive to structures up to ∼10′ scales, and the wide bandwidth allows spectral and Faraday rotation mapping. Relatively narrow frequency channels (209 kHz) are also used to provide H  I mapping in windows of 0 <  z  < 0.09 and 0.19 <  z  < 0.48. In this paper, we provide an overview of the survey and the DR1 products, including caveats for usage. We present some initial results from the survey, both for their intrinsic scientific value and to highlight the capabilities for further exploration with these data. These include a primary-beam-corrected compact source catalogue of ∼626 000 sources for the full survey and an optical and infrared cross-matched catalogue for compact sources in the primary-beam-corrected areas of Abell 209 and Abell S295. We examine dust unbiased star-formation rates as a function of cluster-centric radius in Abell 209, extending out to 3.5 R 200 . We find no dependence of the star-formation rate on distance from the cluster centre, and we observe a small excess of the radio-to-100 μm flux ratio towards the centre of Abell 209 that may reflect a ram pressure enhancement in the denser environment. We detect diffuse cluster radio emission in 62 of the surveyed systems and present a catalogue of the 99 diffuse cluster emission structures, of which 56 are new. These include mini-halos, halos, relics, and other diffuse structures for which no suitable characterisation currently exists. We highlight some of the radio galaxies that challenge current paradigms, such as trident-shaped structures, jets that remain well collimated far beyond their bending radius, and filamentary features linked to radio galaxies that likely illuminate magnetic flux tubes in the intracluster medium. We also present early results from the H  I analysis of four clusters, which show a wide variety of H  I mass distributions that reflect both sensitivity and intrinsic cluster effects, and the serendipitous discovery of a group in the foreground of Abell 3365.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023