Vol 5, No 2

Merger Dynamics of the Pair of Galaxy Clusters – A399 and A401

Qi-Rong Yuan, Peng-Fei Yan, Yan-Bin Yang, Xu Zhou


Abstract Convincing evidence for a past interaction between the two rich clusters A399 and A401 was recently found in the X-ray imaging observations. We examine the structure and dynamics of this pair of galaxy clusters. A mixture-modeling algorithm was applied to obtain a robust partition into two clusters, which allowed us to discuss the virial mass and velocity distribution of each cluster. Assuming that these two clusters follow a linear orbit and they have once experienced a close encounter, we model the binary cluster as a two-body system. As a result, four gravitationally bound solutions are obtained. The recent X-ray observations seem to favor a scenario in which the two clusters with a true separation of 5.4h−1 Mpc are currently expanding at 583 km s-1 along a direction with a projection angle of 67.5°, and they will reach a maximum extent of 5.65 h−1 Mpc in about 1.0 h−1 Gyr.


Keywords galaxies: clusters: individual (A399, A401) --- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

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