A Parameter Space Exploration of Galaxy Cluster Mergers. II. Effects of Magnetic Fields

A Parameter Space Exploration of Galaxy Cluster Mergers. II. Effects of Magnetic FieldsBrzycki, BryanZuhone, JohnDOI: info:10.3847/1538-4357/ab3983v. 883118
Brzycki, Bryan and Zuhone, John. 2019. "A Parameter Space Exploration of Galaxy Cluster Mergers. II. Effects of Magnetic Fields." The Astrophysical Journal 883:118. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab3983
ID: 154632
Type: article
Authors: Brzycki, Bryan; Zuhone, John
Abstract: The hot intracluster plasma in clusters of galaxies is weakly magnetized. Mergers between clusters produce gas compression and motions that can increase the magnetic field strength. In this work, we perform high-resolution nonradiative magnetohydrodynamics simulations of binary galaxy cluster mergers with magnetic fields, to examine the effects of these motions on the magnetic field configuration and strength, as well as the effect of the field on the gas itself. Our simulations sample a parameter space of initial mass ratios and impact parameters. During the first core passage of mergers, the magnetic energy increases via gas compression. After this, shear flows produce temporary, megaparsec- scale, strong-field "filament" structures. Lastly, magnetic fields grow stronger by turbulence. Field amplification is most effective for low- mass ratio mergers, but mergers with a large impact parameter can increase the magnetic energy more via shearing motions. The amplification of the magnetic field is most effective in between the first two core passages of each cluster merger. After the second core passage, the magnetic energy in this region gradually decreases. In general, the transfer of energy from gas motions to the magnetic field is not significant enough to have a substantial effect on gas mixing and the subsequent increase in entropy, which occurs in cluster cores as a result. In the absence of radiative cooling, this results in an overall decrease of the magnetic field strength in cluster cores. In these regions, the final magnetic field is isotropic, while it can be significantly tangential at larger radii.