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Dhruba Dutta Chowdhury

Presidency University

Outline of the Talk

Overview of Galaxy Clusters

Bullet Cluster-What it is and Observations

Bullet Cluster and Cosmological Models

Recent Studies on Bullet like clusters


Galaxy Clusters

Largest gravitationally bound structures..

100 to 1000s of galaxies bound together.

Galaxies account for only 1% of its total mass.

Around 9% in the form of intergalactic gas-high

temperature (7-9 keV) X-Ray plasma.
Remaining 90% is invisible.theoretically
required to explain stability and galaxy rotation
speeds in clusters within the GTR framework .

What is the Bullet Cluster?

It consists of two colliding clusters of

More correctly bullet cluster refers to the
smaller subcluster moving away from the larger
Located at a comoving distance of 1.141 Gpc
and redshift 0.3 from us.


Observations were carried out with HST,

Magallen, Chandra, ESO WFI by the groups
D.Clowe et al and Markevitch et al in Aug 2004.
Results were published in 2006.

HST Credit: NASA

Chandra Credit: NASA Magallen Credit:LCO Chile

WFI Credit: ESO

Optical Image of the colliding Clusters

The stars of the galaxies
were not greatly affected
by the collision.

They passed right through

gravitionally slowed but
not otherwise altered

NASA/STScI;Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et
al.Galaxies in orange and white.
Scale: Full field image is 7.5 x 5.4 arcmin

X-Ray Image of the colliding hot gas

NASA/CXC/CfA/M.Markevitch et al.
Scale: Full-field image is 13.5 x 10.6 arcmin

X-ray observations reveal a

bullet-like gas subcluster
just exiting the collision
A prominent shock wave
gives an estimate of the
subcluster velocity, 4500

The hot gases interact

elctromagentically with
each other causing drag
forces to act between

X-Ray and Optical Image superimposed

This causes the gases to

slow down much more
than the galaxies(they
interact only gravitationally
without any drag).

Hence the galaxies move

ahead of the hot gas

The optical image from Magellan and HST shows galaxies in orange and
white. Hot gas,which contains 90% normal matter in the cluster, is shown by
the Chandra X-ray Observatory image in pink.

Gravitational Lensing studies

of Bullet Cluster

The images of the background galaxies are gently

distorted by the gravitational field of the clusters.
With more than a hundred galaxies, we notice that
the images are systematically aligned,
characteristic of passing through a coherent
gravitational lens.
From these distortions its possible to work
backwards and find the mass distribution which
could have created such a gravitational lens.

Galaxies,Hot gas and more....

Lensing map in blue superimposed on
the x-ray image

Lensing map in blue superimposed on

the optical image

Scale: Images are 7.5 x 5.4 arcmin

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/M.Markevitch et al.;
Optical: NASA/STScI; Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al.;
Lensing Map: NASA/STScI; ESO WFI; Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al

The invisible mass

More bluer regions of the clusters have more

lensing effect-meaning it has more mass.
the total mass peak from the lensing map is
spatially offset from the baryonic mass
peak(the hot gas) with a statistical
confidence of 8 sigma. (D.Clowe et al)
We conclude that most of the mass in the cluster
is invisible.

Properties of the invisible mass

It interacts gravitationally which is the cause for lensing.

Its centre coincides with the galaxies-it is also
collisionless.it has not been slowed down and so does
not have EM interaction either with itself or ordinary
Upper bound on dark matter self interaction crosssection sigma/m < 1cm^2/gm (Markevitch et al 2004)
More recent studies-sigma/m < 0.7 cm^2/gm (Randall et

Galaxies+Hot gas+Invisible matter

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/M.Markevitch et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI;

Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al.; Lensing Map: NASA/STScI; ESO WFI;
Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al

Collision Animation

Artist's representation of the huge collision in the bullet cluster.

Hot gas, containing most of the normal matter in the cluster, is
shown in red and invisible matter in blue.

Bullet Cluster and Cosmological Models

Dark Matter and LCDM Model

To account for the invisible mass in the universe which is

required to explain flatness of the galaxy rotation curves,the
stability of galaxy clusters etc, presence of non-luminous,
non-baryonic dark matter is postulated in the standard LCDM
Cosmology.(26.8% of the current universe is dark matter)
The invisible mass in the bullet cluster which is about 10 times
the mass of the hot gas in it,known from lensing studies in the
general relativistic framework could then possibly be the dark
matter of LCDM.
Infact the detection of such mass in the cluster is a very good
evidence in favour of the dark matter hypothesis.
However not everybody is pleased.

Can MOND take a BULLET?

MOND was proposed by Milgrom in 1983 to explain galaxy rotation

curves by modifying Newtoninan gravity without introducing dark
He claims that MOND correctly accounts for galaxy cluster dynamics
including the Bullet Cluster and that using the MOND framework to
intrepret the lensing data instead of GTR,the invisible mass is
only a factor of 2 times the hot gas,instead of 10 and coincident
with the galaxies.Stability is not a problem as comparitively small
masses can produce same accelerations in MOND.
He claims that the invisible mass could just be unfound baryonic
matter,which would be collisionless as the galaxies.(as only a
tenth of the ordinary matter which should comprise ~4% of the
universe has been found) or could even be nuetrinos.
Thus according to him the bullet cluster does not necissitate the
presence of non-baryonic cold dark matter.


Mastropietro & Burkert (2008) have shown that an initial

relative velocity of the two colliding clusters would need to
be around 3000 km/s in order to explain the observed shock
velocity, X-ray and the lensing data
However, Jounghun and Eiichiro (2010) have shown that
such a high infall velocity is incompatible with the
predictions of the LCDM model. The probability that such
an event could occur is roughly one in 10 billion!The
existence of the bullet cluster poses a serious
challenge to LCDM cosmology, unless a lower infall
velocity solution <1800 km/s is found.
So instead of being a proof for the LCDM,it could as well be
in direct conflict with it.



Credit:Merging Clusters Collaboration UC Davis Group and UC Irvine Group

The four merging clusters for which the UC Davis group

members have led the observation and analysis (Bradac et
al. 2006; Jee et al. 2012; Bradac et al. 2008; Dawson et al.
2012). These mergers represent a diverse masses,
collision velocities, and observed times since collisions.
The fifth cluster on the right is from a simulation of two
SIDM halos post collision (Rocha et al. 2012, in prep).


These are cluster mergers just like the bullet cluster which are
undergoing highly energetic collisions.
In all of them we have observed a seperation of the total
mass peaks from the hot gas-implying invisible mass in
each one of them.
Some limits have also been obtained on the dark-matter
reaction cross sections by studying them.
People have also postulated dark matter with strong selfinteractions to resolve a number of conflicts between
observations and simulations on the galactic scale and smaller
This work is done by the Merging Clusters Collaboration at
UC Davis and UC Irvine.


The total mass peak and the baryonic mass peak offset at 8
sigma significance clearly indicates missing mass in the bullet
However it is not absolutely certain that the missing mass is
indeed cold dark matter of LCDM.It could be unknown invisible
Studies from similar mergers and better estimates for reaction
cross-section of the invisible mass in them may be able to shed
more light on dark matter.
The results of Jounghun and Eiichiro( 2010) need to be reviewed
and investigated properly as it could be a serious threat to LCDM.


Wikipedia entry on Bullet Cluster

NED results for Bullet Cluster

M. Markevitch et al "Direct constraints on the dark matter self-interaction cross-section

from the merging galaxy cluster 1E0657-56". Astrophys.J. 606 (2): 819824
Clowe, Douglas; et al. (2006). "A Direct Empirical Proof of the Existence of Dark
Matter". The Astrophysical Journal Letters 648 (2)
Chandra Xray Observatory http://chandra.harvard.edu
Jounghun Lee; Komatsu (2010). "Bullet Cluster: A Challenge to LCDM Cosmology".
ApJ 718

The Mond Pages http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ssm/mond/moti_bullet.html

Merging Clusters Collaboration www.mergingclustercollaboration.org

Professor Marusa Bradac's talk on Bullet Galaxies and Dark Matter at SETI

Professor Suchetana Chatterjee's class lecture-II and slides


Thanks to Professor Suchetana Chatterjee for being our

cosmology instructor,for arranging this talk.
Sincere thanks to those who have contributed to the
wikipedia article.
Gratitude to NASA..for the beautiful images,arXiv for the
original papers..
Thanks to friends for hearing me out
Special thanks to my good friend Argha Banerjee,we
discussed regarding MOND and the BULLET.
Thank you all..

Thank You