Sub-structures in the hot gas of galaxy clusters are related to their formation history and to the astrophysical processes at play in the intracluster medium (ICM). The thermal Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (tSZ) effect is directly sensitive to the line-of-sight integrated ICM pressure, and is thus particularly adapted to study ICM sub-structures. We apply structure-enhancement filtering algorithms to high resolution tSZ observations of distant clusters, in order to search for pressure discontinuities, compressions, as well as secondary peaks in the ICM. The same filters are applied to synthetic tSZ images extracted from RHAPSODY-G hydrodynamic simulations, in order to better interpret the extracted features. We also study the noise propagation trough the filters and quantify the impact of systematic effects, point source residuals being identified as the dominant potential contaminant. In 3 of our 6 NIKA clusters we identify features at high S/N that show clear evidence for merger events. In MACSJ0717 (z=0.55), three strong pressure gradients are observed on the E, SE and W sectors, and two main peaks in the pressure distribution are identified. We observe a lack of tSZ compact structure in the cool-core cluster PSZ1G045.85 (z=0.61), and a tSZ gradient ridge dominates in the SE. In the highest z cluster, CLJ1227 (z=0.89), we detect a ~45″ (360 kpc) long ridge pressure gradient associated with a secondary pressure peak in the W region. Our results show that current tSZ facilities have now reached the angular resolution and sensitivity to allow an exploration of the details of pressure sub-structures in clusters, even at high z. This opens the possibility to quantify the impact of the dynamical state on the relation between the tSZ signal and the mass of clusters, which is important when using tSZ clusters to test cosmological models. This work also marks the first NIKA cluster sample data release.
R. Adam, O. Hahn, F. Ruppin, et. al.
Thu, 7 Dec 17
Comments: Accepted in A&A