Ginga observations of the Coma cluster and studies of the spatial distribution of iron

John P. Hughes, Jackie A. Butcher, Gordon C. Stewart, Yasuo Tanaka

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The large area counters on the Japanese satellite Ginga have been used to determine the X-ray spectrum from the central region of the Coma cluster of galaxies over the energy range from 1.5 to 20 keV. The spectrum is well represented by an isothermal model of temperature 8.21 ± 0.16 keV and a heavy element (iron) abundance of 0.212 ± 0.027, relative to the cosmic value. The Ginga spectrum was found to be consistent with the X-ray spectra from the Tenma and EXOSAT satellites for a large class of nonisothermal temperature distributions. The measured iron elemental abundances were used to set a lower limit on the total mass of iron in Coma under the assumption that the iron is not distributed uniformly throughout the cluster. The mass ratio of iron relative to hydrogen (within 2 Mpc) is not less than 18% of the cosmic iron to hydrogen mass ratio. This compares to an average abundance of 24% if the iron is distributed uniformly. We discuss these results in terms of models for the production of iron in galaxy clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-619
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: clusters: individual (Coma)
  • Galaxies: intergalactic medium
  • X-rays: galaxies


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