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Discovery of Warm Gas in the Virgo Cluster

  • R. Lieu (a1), J.P.D. Mittaz (a2), S. Bowyer (a1), J.H.M.M. Schmitt (a1) (a3) and J. Lewis (a1)...

Abstract

During the EUVE sky survey of the Virgo region, a central source positionally coincident with the X-ray emitting galaxy M87, and a surrounding halo of extended emission, were detected in the 0.065–0.248 keV band. A detailed comparison of these data with the ROSAT PSPC data of M87 revealed an excess flux at energies < 0.4 keV within the central 30’ radius which cannot be associated with the well-known cluster gas at X-ray temperatures (kT ≥ a few keV). Instead, it is necessary to introduce a second gas component, of temperature T ~ 5 × 106 K (kT ~ 0.1 keV). The resulting two-component model (warm + hot) can account for all the data. The origin and stability of the warm component, with a temperature near the peak of the thermal plasma cooling curve, is unclear. Both the temperature and spatial extent argue against cooling flow as the primary process responsible for its production. Other mechanisms, such as a galactic wind and heating by galaxy motions, must be considered.

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References

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