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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Richard Wilman

Wilman, R.J., Edge, A.C., McGregor, P.J. & McNamara, B.R. (2011). Molecular accretion in the core of the galaxy cluster 2A 0335+096. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 416(3): 2060-2067.

Author(s) from Durham


We present adaptive optics-assisted K-band integral field spectroscopy of the central cluster galaxy in 2A 0335+096 (z= 0.0349). The H2 v=1–0 S(1) emission is concentrated in two peaks within 600 pc of the nucleus and fainter but kinematically active emission extends towards the nucleus. The H2 is in a rotating structure which aligns with, and appears to have been accreted from, a stream of Hα emission extending over 14 kpc towards a companion galaxy. The projected rotation axis aligns with the 5 GHz radio lobes.

This H2 traces the known 1.2 × 109 M⊙ CO-emitting reservoir; limits on the Brγ emission confirm that the H2 emission is not excited by star formation, which occurs at a rate of less than 1 M⊙ yr−1 in this gas. If its accretion on to the black hole can be regulated whilst star formation remains suppressed, the reservoir could last for at least 1 Gyr; the simultaneous accretion of just ∼5 per cent of the gas could drive a series of active galactic nucleus (AGN) outbursts which offset X-ray cooling in the cluster core for the full ∼1 Gyr. Alternatively, if the regulation is ineffective and the bulk of the H2 accretes within a few orbital periods (25–100 Myr), the resulting 1062 erg outburst would be among the most powerful cluster AGN outbursts known. In either case, these observations further support cold feedback scenarios for AGN heating.