TUNA Lunch Talk:

Reinout J. van Weeren

Leiden Observatory

Radio relics: unique probes of galaxy cluster mergers

September 6

12:10PM, Room 230, NRAO, Edgemont Road


Radio relics are enormous Mpc-sized synchrotron emitting sources found in the outskirts of merging galaxy clusters. It is thought that these so-called relics trace cluster merger shock waves. In this talk I will present the latest observational results on several unique new relics. The properties of these relics provide insights into the physical properties of extremely dilute cosmic plasmas, magnetic fields, and particle acceleration in shocks. Together with simulations of cluster mergers I will indicate how relics can be used to reconstruct the mass ratio, impact parameter and orientation, of cluster merger events. In addition, I will present the first high angular resolution observations of a cluster below 70 MHz from the new LOFAR telescope. LOFAR, the Low Frequency Radio Array, is a pan-European radio telescope that is currently being commissioned. With its enormous sensitivity at the lowest frequencies it will be the breakthrough instrument for observations of diffuse radio emission in clusters.