Merging galaxy clusters

Galaxy clusters are the most massive collapsed structures in the universe. Mergers are the mechanism by which galaxy clusters form, and they are still growing by accreting sub-clusters. The collision of two galaxy clusters disturbs the hot intracluster gas, and may give rise to supersonic shock waves. In some cases, the collision causes the gas to be spatially dissociated from the dark matter, as in the notorious Bullet Cluster. Computational simulations allow us to follow the gravitational evolution of such collisions, and thus to reconstruct the dynamical history of merging clusters. Using the Alphacrucis supercomputer at IAG/USP, we performed large sets of numerical simulations that allowed us to propose a specific scenarios for a number of observed galaxy clusters.

See also presentation slides from the 2013 USP Conference. This project was supported by FAPESP.