Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 285, Issue 1, pp 167–171 | Cite as

Abell 851: Are we looking at the beginning of a merging process?

  • E. De Filippis
  • S. Schindler


We present an XMM observation of the moderately distant (z=0.41)galaxy cluster CL 0939+4713 (Abell 851), an exceptionally rich cluster. The formation and evolution of clusters depends sensitively on cosmological parameters like the mean matter density in the universe Οm. Therefore it is important to determine the dynamical state of clusters at different redshifts, i.e. at different evolutionary states. The X-ray morphology alone is not the best indicator of the dynamical state, but it should be complemented with all other information available, e.g. the temperature map or the galaxy distribution. The combination of all findings gives a detailed picture of the state of a cluster. This analysis, of this relatively distant cluster, can be used as a basis for comparisons at lower and higher redshifts. The capability of XMM to perform spatially resolved spectroscopy can be used also to determine the distribution of the metal abundances. Not only the overall value of metallicity but also its spatial distribution gives important indications on the metal enrichment processes. The X-ray image shows pronounced substructure. There are two main subclusters which have also some internal structure. This is an indication that the cluster is a dynamically young system. This conclusion is supported by the temperature distribution: a hot region is found between the two main subclusters indicating that the cluster is in the process of a major merger, in which the two subclusters will probably collide in a few hundreds of Myr. The intra-cluster gas of CL 0939+4713 shows variations of the metal abundances. The optically richer subcluster has a somewhat higher metallicity. This finding together with the absence of post-starburst galaxies in this region gives interesting hints on the metal enrichment processes favouring recent enrichment processes like ram-pressure stripping or tidal stripping. Throughout this paper we use H0=50 km s-1Mpc-1 and q0=0.5; all errors are 90% confidence levels.

Galaxies: clusters: general intergalactic medium evolution Cosmology: observations Cosmology: theory X-rays: galaxies: clusters 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. De Filippis
    • 1
  • S. Schindler
    • 2
  1. 1.Astrophysics Research InstituteLiverpool John Moores UniversityUK
  2. 2.Institut für AstrophysikInnsbruck

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