While very often a hot intergalactic medium (IGM) is optically thin to continuum radiation, the optical depth in resonant lines can be of order unity or larger. Resonant scattering in the brightest X-ray emission lines can cause distortions in the surface brightness distribution, spurious variations in the abundance of heavy elements, changes in line spectral shapes and even polarization of line emission. The magnitude of these effects not only depends on the density, temperature and ionization state of the gas, but is also sensitive to the characteristics of the gas velocity field. This opens a possibility to use resonant scattering as a convenient and powerful tool to study IGM properties. We discuss the application of these effects to galaxy clusters.
Space Science Reviews
- Pub Date:
- December 2010
- Clusters of galaxies;
- Radiative transfer;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 18 pages, 10 figure, to be published in Space Science Reviews, "X-ray Spectroscopy", Editors Jelle Kaastra and Frits Paerels