Journal Article

Thermal diffusion in the intergalactic medium of clusters of galaxies

P. Shtykovskiy and M. Gilfanov

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 401, issue 2, pages 1360-1368
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Thermal diffusion in the intergalactic medium of clusters of galaxies

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We revisit the phenomenon of elements diffusion in the intergalactic medium (IGM) in clusters of galaxies. The diffusion is driven by gravity, concentration and temperature gradients. The latter cause thermal diffusion, which has been so far ignored in IGM studies. We consider the full problem based on the Burgers' equations and demonstrate that the temperature gradients present in clusters of galaxies may successfully compete with gravity, evacuating metals from cooler regions. Under the combined action of gravity and temperature gradients, complicated metallicity profiles with several peaks and depressions may be formed. For a typical cool core cluster, the thermal diffusion may significantly reduce and even reverse the gravitational sedimentation of metals, resulting in the depression in their abundance in the core. This may have implications for diagnostics of the low-temperature plasma in the centres of clusters of galaxies.

Keywords: X-rays: galaxies: clusters

Journal Article.  5767 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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