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Astron. Astrophys. 330, 801-818 (1998)

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X-ray structures in galaxy cluster cores *

M. Pierre and J.-L. Starck

CEA Saclay DSM/DAPNIA, Service d'Astrophysique, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Received 22 April 1997 / Accepted 10 July 1997


Using a set of ROSAT HRI deep pointings, we investigate the presence of small-scale structures in the central regions of clusters of galaxies. Our sample comprises 23 objects up to [FORMULA], 13 of them known to host a cooling flow. Structures are detected and characterized using a wavelet analysis, their statistical significance being assessed by a rigorous treatment of photon noise. For all clusters, we present multi-resolution filtered images, restoring structures on all scales and allowing the suppression of noise. We then investigate in detail the geometrical properties of the smallest scale structures. Contrary to previous claims, we find very few "filaments" or point-like features at a 3.7 [FORMULA] level, except at the very cluster centers. Complex cores are conspicuous in at least three massive cooling flows located at [FORMULA]. From our initial data set we have simulated a redshifted sample, and analyzed it in the same way in order to investigate any instrumental/resolution effect on the detectability of structures. On the one hand, the topology of the core down to the limiting resolution appears to be, at least in our redshift range, indistinguishable between low and high z clusters. On the other hand, external parts seem to be more affected in distant clusters, as indicated by the study of the "centroid shift" or position angle variation as a function of radius. Peculiar central features and strong isophotal twisting are found in some distant massive cooling flow clusters. All this suggests that X-ray cores which extend to a region comparable to the cD envelope should be rather isolated from the rest of the cluster and are probably undergoing peculiar physical processes - like ISM/ICM connections - competing with relaxation.

Key words: methods: data analysis – galaxies: clusters – intergalactic medium – cosmology: observations – X-rays: galaxies; general

* Based on ROSAT archive data

Send offprint requests to: M. Pierre (mpierre@cea.fr)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: January 27, 1998