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Context. The excitation of the filamentary gas structures surrounding giant elliptical galaxies at the center of cool-core clusters, also known as brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), is key to our understanding of active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback, and of the impact of environmental and local effects on star formation. Aims. We investigate the contribution of thermal radiation from the cooling flow surrounding BCGs to the excitation of the filaments. We explore the effects of small levels of extra heating (turbulence), and of metallicity, on the optical and infrared lines. Methods. Using the C LOUDY code, we modeled the photoionization and photodissociation of a slab of gas of optical depth A V ≤ 30 mag at constant pressure in order to calculate self-consistently all of the gas phases, from ionized gas to molecular gas. The ionizing source is the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and soft X-ray radiation emitted by the cooling gas. We tested these models comparing their predictions to the rich multi-wavelength observations from optical to submillimeter, now achieved in cool core clusters. Results. Such models of self-irradiated clouds, when reaching sufficiently large A V , lead to a cloud structure with ionized, atomic, and molecular gas phases. These models reproduce most ofmore »
ABSTRACT We present Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array observations of the brightest cluster galaxy Hydra-A, a nearby (z = 0.054) giant elliptical galaxy with powerful and extended radio jets. The observations reveal CO(1−0), CO(2–1), 13CO(2–1), CN(2–1), SiO(5–4), HCO+(1–0), HCO+(2–1), HCN(1–0), HCN(2–1), HNC(1–0), and H2CO(3–2) absorption lines against the galaxy’s bright and compact active galactic nucleus. These absorption features are due to at least 12 individual molecular clouds that lie close to the centre of the galaxy and have velocities of approximately −50 to +10 km s−1 relative to its recession velocity, where positive values correspond to inward motion. The absorption profiles are evidence of a clumpy interstellar medium within brightest cluster galaxies composed of clouds with similar column densities, velocity dispersions, and excitation temperatures to those found at radii of several kpc in the Milky Way. We also show potential variation in a ∼10 km s−1 wide section of the absorption profile over a 2 yr time-scale, most likely caused by relativistic motions in the hot spots of the continuum source that change the background illumination of the absorbing clouds.