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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 that 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 viewmore »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. Context. The Shapley Supercluster (⟨ z ⟩≈0.048) contains several tens of gravitationally bound clusters and groups, making it an ideal subject for radio studies of cluster mergers. Aims. We used new high sensitivity radio observations to investigate the less energetic events of mass assembly in the Shapley Supercluster from supercluster down to galactic scales. Methods. We created total intensity images of the full region between A3558 and A3562, from ∼230 to ∼1650 MHz, using ASKAP, MeerKAT and the GMRT, with sensitivities ranging from ∼6 to ∼100 μJy beam −1 . We performed a detailed morphological and spectral study of the extended emission features, complemented with ESO-VST optical imaging and X-ray data from XMM-Newton . Results. We report the first GHz frequency detection of extremely low brightness intercluster diffuse emission on a ∼1 Mpc scale connecting a cluster and a group, namely: A3562 and the group SC 1329–313. It is morphologically similar to the X-ray emission in the region. We also found (1) a radio tail generated by ram pressure stripping in the galaxy SOS 61086 in SC 1329–313; (2) a head-tail radio galaxy, whose tail is broken and culminates in a misaligned bar; (3) ultrasteep diffuse emission at the centremore »of A3558. Finally (4), we confirm the ultra-steep spectrum nature of the radio halo in A3562. Conclusions. Our study strongly supports the scenario of a flyby of SC 1329–313 north of A3562 into the supercluster core. This event perturbed the centre of A3562, leaving traces of this interaction in the form of turbulence between A3562 and SC 1329–313, at the origin of the radio bridge and eventually affecting the evolution of individual supercluster galaxies by triggering ram pressure stripping. Our work shows that minor mergers can be spectacular and have the potential to generate diffuse radio emission that carries important information on the formation of large-scale structures in the Universe.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. 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. 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 caveatsmore »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