Chandra X-ray observations are analyzed for five galaxy clusters whose atmospheric cooling times, entropy parameters, and ratios of cooling time to freefall time within the central galaxies lie below 1 Gyr, below 30 keV cm2, and between 20 ≲ min(tcool/tff) ≲ 50, respectively. These thermodynamic properties are commonly associated with molecular clouds, bright Hα emission, and star formation in central galaxies. However, all have Hα luminosities below 1040 erg s−1 in the ACCEPT database. Star formation and molecular gas are absent at the levels seen in other central galaxies with similar atmospheric properties. Only RBS 0533 may host a radio/X-ray bubble, which are commonly observed in cooling atmospheres. Signatures of uplifted, high-metallicity atmospheric gas are absent. Their atmospheres are apparently thermodynamically stable despite the absence of strong nuclear feedback. We suggest that extended filaments of nebular emission and associate molecular clouds are absent at appreciable levels because their central radio sources have failed to lift low-entropy atmospheric gas to an altitude where the ratio of the cooling time to the freefall time falls below unity and the gas becomes thermally unstable.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- July 2020
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- Accepted for publication in ApJ. The draft includes significant changes to the Introduction intended to better motivate this work by placing the problem in the context of current theoretical understanding of thermally unstable cooling. The abstract and conclusion were edited for clarity