We examine whether nonthermal protons energized during a cluster merger are simultaneously responsible for the Coma cluster's diffuse radio flux (via secondary decay) and the departure of its intracluster medium (ICM) from a thermal profile via Coulomb collisions between the quasi-thermal electrons and the hadrons. Rather than approximating the influence of nonthermal proton/thermal electron collisions as extremely rare events which cause an injection of nonthermal, power-law electrons (the knock-on approximation), we self-consistently solve (to our knowledge, for the first time) the covariant kinetic equations for the two populations. The electron population resulting from these collisions is out of equilibrium, yet not a power law, and importantly displays a higher bremsstrahlung radiative efficiency than a pure power law. Observations with GLAST will test this model directly.
- Acceleration of particles
- Galaxies: clusters: individual (Coma)
- Radiation mechanisms: Nonthermal
- X-rays: galaxies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science