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Stripped elliptical galaxies as probes of ICM physics : III. Deep Chandra observation of NGC 4552 - Measuring the viscosity of the intracluster medium

Kraft, R. P.; Roediger, E.; Machacek, M.; Forman, W. R.; Nulsen, P. E.J.; Jones, C.; Churazov, E.; Randall, S.; Su, Y.; Sheardown, A.


R. P. Kraft

M. Machacek

W. R. Forman

P. E.J. Nulsen

C. Jones

E. Churazov

S. Randall

Y. Su

A. Sheardown


We present results from a deep (200 ks) Chandra observation of the early-type galaxy NGC 4552 (M89) which is falling into the Virgo cluster. Previous shallower X-ray observations of this galaxy showed a remnant gas core, a tail to the South of the galaxy, and twin `horns' attached to the northern edge of the gas core [machacek05a]. In our deeper data, we detect a diffuse, low surface brightness extension to the previously known tail, and measure the temperature structure within the tail. We combine the deep Chandra data with archival XMM-Newton observations to put a strong upper limit on the diffuse emission of the tail out to a large distance (10×the radius of the remnant core) from the galaxy center. In our two previous papers [roediger15a,roediger15b], we presented the results of hydrodynamical simulations of ram pressure stripping specifically for M89 falling into the Virgo cluster and investigated the effect of ICM viscosity. In this paper, we compare our deep data with our specifically tailored simulations and conclude that the observed morphology of the stripped tail in NGC 4552 is most similar to the inviscid models. We conclude that, to the extent the transport processes can be simply modeled as a hydrodynamic viscosity, the ICM viscosity is negligible. More generally, any micro-scale description of the transport processes in the high-β plasma of the cluster ICM must be consistent with the efficient mixing observed in the stripped tail on macroscopic scales.


Kraft, R. P., Roediger, E., Machacek, M., Forman, W. R., Nulsen, P. E., Jones, C., …Sheardown, A. (2017). Stripped elliptical galaxies as probes of ICM physics : III. Deep Chandra observation of NGC 4552 - Measuring the viscosity of the intracluster medium. The Astrophysical journal, 848(1), Article ARTN 27.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2017
Online Publication Date Oct 6, 2017
Publication Date Oct 6, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 15, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Astrophysical journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Electronic ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 848
Issue 1
Article Number ARTN 27
Keywords Space and Planetary Science; Astronomy and Astrophysics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Journal title: The Astrophysical Journal; Article type: paper; Article title: Stripped Elliptical Galaxies as Probes of ICM Physics. III. Deep Chandra Observations of NGC 4552: Measuring the Viscosity of the Intracluster Medium; Copyright information: © 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.; Date received: 2016-11-11; Date accepted: 2017-09-01; Online publication date: 2017-10-06


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Copyright Statement
© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved

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