Institute of Astronomy

The Perseus Cluster of Galaxies

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Andy Fabian (Cambridge)8 October 2020Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


The Perseus cluster is the X-ray brightest cluster of galaxies in the Sky. I first observed it in 1973, finding the peaked cool core and have observed it with many X-ray observatories since from the Einstein Observatory through to ROSAT, Chandra and Hitomi. The image from Chandra has become a poster-child for Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) Feedback and clearly demonstrates that an accreting black hole can influence its environment over a scale factor of a billion or more. I shall review observations of the Perseus cluster at all wavelengths from radio through X-rays and at all scales from the central black hole to the cluster virial radius. I discuss how AGN Feedback might work in this object and consider what we do not know - some fundamental parts of the transfer of energy are unclear. The AGN-hosting central galaxy, NGC1275, is one of the most gas rich galaxies at low redshift with well over 10 billion Msun of molecular hydrogen. Young star formation is seen around NGC1275 as well as a radio minihalo. There are cold fronts in the intracluster gas extending over 1 Mpc and interesting galaxy members such as NGC1277 and 1272. I intend to show that the Perseus cluster, 70 Mpc away, has much to offer astronomers.


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