CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2013
 21 February 2013

21 February 2013

Speaker: Michael McDonald (MIT)

Title:The Phoenix Cluster: A New Lease on Life for Cooling Flows (and other exciting results from the South Pole Telescope)

Abstract:The "Phoenix Cluster", recently discovered by the South Pole Telescope, is remarkable for a variety of reasons - the least of which is its record-setting X-ray luminosity and total mass. In the inner ~100 kpc of this cluster, the intracluster medium is cooling at an unmatched rate, resulting in the strongest cool core on record. Unlike its low-redshift counterparts, where cooling is offset by some mysterious form of feedback, the Phoenix Cluster appears to harbor a starburst (800 Msun/yr) in the center of the cluster, roughly consistent with early cooling flow predictions. We present a variety of data for this cluster, from both space- and ground-based observatories in the X-ray through the radio, in order to paint a complete picture of this exotic system. Given the extreme star formation, which appears to be fueled by the cooling flow, we speculate that this may be a short-lived phase that a large fraction of galaxy clusters go through before feedback prevents further cooling. Other exciting, upcoming results from the South Pole Telescope collaboration will be highlighted, including a recently-completed X-ray survey of the 80 most massive galaxy clusters in the SPT 2500 square degree survey.

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