Bubbles, Flows, and Fields

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Science  10 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5570, pp. 1040-1041
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072074

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Recent X-ray observations from the Chandra orbiting observatory are providing new insights into the properties of radio galaxies at the centres of clusters of galaxies. Holes in the hot intracluster gas correspond to bubbles of relativistic, radio-emitting plasma either side of the central galaxy. "Ghost" holes, within which the relativistic electrons have radiated away their energy, are sometimes found at greater distances from the galaxy. As Fabian discusses in his Perspective, the outflow of energy in the form of bubbles of relativistic energy may in part stem the inflow of radiatively cooling gas from the cluster. The bubbles should inject heat and magnetic fields into the general intracluster medium.