Cooling Flows in Clusters and Galaxies


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X-ray astronomers discovered the diffuse gas in clusters of galaxies about 20 years ago. It was later realized that the central gas density in some clusters, and in elliptical galaxies, is so high that radiative cooling is a significant energy loss. The cooling time of the gas decreases rapidly towards the centre of the cluster or galaxy and is less than a Hubble time within the innermost few hundred kiloparsecs. This results in a cooling flow in which the gas density rises in order to maintain pressure to support the ...

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