Major mergers between massive clusters have a profound effect in the intracluster gas, which may be used as a probe of the dynamics of structure formation at the high end of the mass function. An example of such a merger is observed at the northern component of Abell 1758, comprising two massive sub-clusters separated by approximately 750 kpc. One of the clusters exhibits an offset between the dark matter and the intracluster gas. We aim to determine whether it is possible to reproduce the specific morphological features of this cluster by means of a major merger. We perform dedicated SPH (smoothed particle hydrodynamics) N-body simulations in an attempt to simultaneously recover several observed features of Abell 1758, such as the X-ray morphology and the separation between the two peaks in the projected galaxy luminosity map. We propose a specific scenario for the off-axis collision of two massive clusters. This model adequately reproduces several observed features and suggests that Abell 1758 is seen approximately 0.4 Gyr after the first pericentric passage, and that the clusters are already approaching their maximum separation. This means that their relative velocity is as low as 380 km s-1. At the same time, the simulated model entails shock waves of ~4500 km s-1, which are currently undetected presumably due to the low-density medium. We explain the difference between these velocities and argue that the predicted shock fronts, while plausible, cannot be detected from currently available data.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Astronomía y astrofísica
- Ciencias planetarias y espacial