Astrophys. J., 687, 986-996 (2008/November-2)
The hot interstellar medium in normal elliptical galaxies. III. The thermal structure of the gas.
DIEHL S. and STATLER T.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
This is the third paper in a series analyzing X-ray emission from the hot interstellar medium in a sample of 54 normal elliptical galaxies observed by Chandra. We focus on a subset of 36 galaxies with sufficient signal to compute radial temperature profiles. We distinguish four qualitatively different types of profile: positive gradient (outwardly rising), negative gradients (falling), quasi-isothermal (flat), and hybrid (falling at small radii and rising at larger radii). We measure the mean logarithmic temperature gradients in two radial regions: from 0 to 2 J-band effective radii RJ(excluding the central point source), and from 2 to 4 RJ. We find the outer gradient to be uncorrelated with intrinsic host galaxy properties, but strongly influenced by the environment: galaxies in low-density environments tend to show negative outer gradients, while those in high-density environments show positive outer gradients, suggesting the influence of circumgalactic hot gas. The inner temperature gradient, however, is largely unaffected by the environment, but strongly correlated with intrinsic host galaxy characteristics: negative inner gradients are more common for smaller, optically faint, low radio luminosity galaxies, whereas positive gradients are found in bright galaxies with stronger radio sources. There is no evidence for bimodality in the distribution of inner or outer gradients. We propose three scenarios to explain the inner temperature gradients: (1) weak AGNs heat the ISM locally, while higher luminosity AGNs heat the system globally through jets inflating cavities at larger radii; (2) the onset of negative inner gradients indicates a declining importance of AGN heating relative to other sources, such as compressional heating or supernovae; or (3) the variety of temperature profiles are snapshots of different stages of a time-dependent flow, cyclically reversing the temperature gradient over time.
Galaxies: Cooling Flows - Galaxies: Elliptical and Lenticular, cD - Galaxies: ISM - X-Rays: Galaxies - X-Rays: ISM
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