We investigate shock structures driven by merger events in high-resolution simulations that result in a galaxy with a virial mass M ≈ 1012 M ⊙. We find that the sizes and morphologies of the internal shocks resemble remarkably well those of the newly detected class of odd radio circles (ORCs). This would highlight a so-far overlooked mechanism to form radio rings, shells, and even more complex structures around elliptical galaxies. Mach numbers of = 2-3 for such internal shocks are in agreement with the spectral indices of the observed ORCs. We estimate that ∼5% of galaxies could undergo merger events, which occasionally lead to such prominent structures within the galactic halo during their lifetime, explaining the low number of observed ORCs. At the time when the shock structures are matching the physical sizes of the observed ORCs, the central galaxies are typically classified as early-type galaxies, with no ongoing star formation, in agreement with observational findings. Although the energy released by such mergers could potentially power the observed radio luminosity already in Milky Way-like halos, our predicted luminosity from a simple, direct shock acceleration model is much smaller than the observed one. Considering the estimated number of candidates from our cosmological simulations and the higher observed energies, we suggest that the proposed scenario is more likely for halo masses around 1013 M ⊙ in agreement with the observed stellar masses of the galaxies at the center of ORCs. Such shocks might be detectable with next-generation X-ray instruments like the Line Emission Mapper (LEM).

Insights on the Origin of Odd Radio Circles from Cosmological Simulations

Milena Valentini
2023-01-01

Abstract

We investigate shock structures driven by merger events in high-resolution simulations that result in a galaxy with a virial mass M ≈ 1012 M ⊙. We find that the sizes and morphologies of the internal shocks resemble remarkably well those of the newly detected class of odd radio circles (ORCs). This would highlight a so-far overlooked mechanism to form radio rings, shells, and even more complex structures around elliptical galaxies. Mach numbers of = 2-3 for such internal shocks are in agreement with the spectral indices of the observed ORCs. We estimate that ∼5% of galaxies could undergo merger events, which occasionally lead to such prominent structures within the galactic halo during their lifetime, explaining the low number of observed ORCs. At the time when the shock structures are matching the physical sizes of the observed ORCs, the central galaxies are typically classified as early-type galaxies, with no ongoing star formation, in agreement with observational findings. Although the energy released by such mergers could potentially power the observed radio luminosity already in Milky Way-like halos, our predicted luminosity from a simple, direct shock acceleration model is much smaller than the observed one. Considering the estimated number of candidates from our cosmological simulations and the higher observed energies, we suggest that the proposed scenario is more likely for halo masses around 1013 M ⊙ in agreement with the observed stellar masses of the galaxies at the center of ORCs. Such shocks might be detectable with next-generation X-ray instruments like the Line Emission Mapper (LEM).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3061538
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