Featured Image: Violent History of the Toothbrush Cluster

This stunning composite image shows the components of the galaxy cluster RX J0603.3+4214, located at a redshift of z=0.225. This image contains Chandra X-ray data (red), radio data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (green), and optical from the Subaru Telescope (background). The shape of the enormous (6.5 million light-years across!) radio relic, shown in green, gives this collection of galaxies its nickname: the “Toothbrush Cluster.”  A team of scientists led by Myungkook James Jee (Yonsei University and University of California, Davis) used Hubble and Subaru to study weak gravitational lensing by the Toothbrush Cluster, in order to determine how the cluster’s mass is distributed. Jee and collaborators found that most of the dark-matter mass is located in two large clumps on a north-south axis (shown by the white contours overlaid on the image), suggesting that the Toothbrush Cluster is the result of a past merger between two clusters. This violent merger is likely what caused the enormous “Toothbrush” radio relic. Check out the paper below for more information!


M. James Jee et al 2016 ApJ 817 179. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/817/2/179