Simulating Everything: Galaxy Cluster Mergers in a Supercomputer

John ZuHone, University of Chicago

Photo of John ZuHone

Clusters of galaxies provide exciting laboratories for the study of fundamental physics, the nature of matter, and probes of the expansion history of the universe. One of the most direct windows into the nature of the dynamics of clusters of galaxies is the intracluster medium (ICM), the hot 10-100 million-degree plasma that makes up the bulk of ordinary matter in clusters of galaxies. The ICM radiates predominantly in X-rays, and precision instruments such as the Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray telescopes provide excellent images and spectral analysis. In this talk I will present computer simulations of a pair of merging galaxy clusters, which are modeled to resemble a particular cluster merger that is believed to be occurring along our line of sight. We not only simulate the dynamics of the clusters but construct simulated X-ray observations to determine if the signatures and nature of such an interaction can be determined from observations.

Abstract Author(s): J.A. ZuHone, P.M. Ricker, D.Q. Lamb, H.-Y. Yang