Discovery of Magnetic Fields Along Stacked Cosmic Filaments as Revealed by Radio and X-Ray Emission Article - 2021

Tessa Vernstrom, George Heald, Franco Vazza, Tim Galvin, Jennifer West, Nicola Locatelli, Nicolao Fornengo, Elena Pinetti

Tessa Vernstrom, George Heald, Franco Vazza, Tim Galvin, Jennifer West, Nicola Locatelli, Nicolao Fornengo, Elena Pinetti, « Discovery of Magnetic Fields Along Stacked Cosmic Filaments as Revealed by Radio and X-Ray Emission  », Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc., 2021

Abstract

Diffuse filaments connect galaxy clusters to form the cosmic web. Detecting these filaments could yield information on the magnetic field strength, cosmic ray population and temperature of intercluster gas, yet, the faint and large-scale nature of these bridges makes direct detections very challenging. Using multiple independent all-sky radio and X-ray maps we stack pairs of luminous red galaxies as tracers for cluster pairs. For the first time, we detect an average surface brightness between the clusters from synchrotron (radio) and thermal (X-ray) emission with $\gtrsim 5\sigma$ significance, on physical scales larger than observed to date ($\geq 3\,$Mpc). We obtain a synchrotron spectral index of $\alpha \simeq -1.0$ and estimates of the average magnetic field strength of $ 30 \leq B \leq 60 \,$nG, derived from both equipartition and Inverse Compton arguments, implying a 5 to 15$\,$per cent degree of field regularity when compared with Faraday rotation measure estimates. While the X-ray detection is inline with predictions, the average radio signal comes out higher than predicted by cosmological simulations and dark matter annihilation and decay models. This discovery demonstrates that there are connective structures between mass concentrations that are significantly magnetised, and the presence of sufficient cosmic rays to produce detectable synchrotron radiation.

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