We present the results of deep Chandra and XMM-Newton observations of a complex merging galaxy cluster Abell 2256 (A2256) that hosts a spectacular radio relic (RR). The temperature and metallicity maps show clear evidence of a merger between the western subcluster (SC) and the primary cluster (PC). We detect five X-ray surface brightness edges. Three of them near the cluster centre are cold fronts (CFs): CF1 is associated with the infalling SC; CF2 is located in the east of the PC; and CF3 is located to the west of the PC core. The other two edges at cluster outskirts are shock fronts (SFs): SF1 near the RR in the NW has Mach numbers derived from the temperature and the density jumps, respectively, of MT = 1.62 ± 0.12 and Mρ = 1.23 ± 0.06; SF2 in the SE has MT = 1.54 ± 0.05 and Mρ = 1.16 ± 0.13. In the region of the RR, there is no evidence for the correlation between X-ray and radio substructures, from which we estimate an upper limit for the inverse-Compton emission, and therefore set a lower limit on the magnetic field (450 kpc from PC centre) of B > 1.0 μG for a single power-law electron spectrum or B > 0.4 μG for a broken power-law electron spectrum. We propose a merger scenario including a PC, an SC, and a group. Our merger scenario accounts for the X-ray edges, diffuse radio features, and galaxy kinematics, as well as projection effects.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was also supported at the University of Minnesota through the Chandra Award Number GO4-15119A with supplementary funding from the NSF grant AST17-14205. Basic research in radio astronomy at the Naval Research Laboratory is funded by 6.1 Base funding.
- galaxies: clusters: individual: Abell 2256
- galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
- X-rays: galaxies: clusters