X-rays associated with the jet-cloud-interacting radio galaxy 3C 277.3 (Coma A): Implications for energy deposition

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We report the discovery with Chandra of X-ray-emitting gas associated with the jet-cloud interaction in the radio galaxy 3C 277.3 (Coma A), a source that falls in the most important power range for radio-mode feedback in the Universe. This hot gas, heated by the jet, dominates the mass of the cloud which is responsible for an extreme projected deflection of the kpc-scale radio jet. Highly absorbed X-ray emission from the nucleus of 3C 277.3 confirms that the jet lies close to the plane of the sky and so has a large intrinsic deflection. We detect group gas on the scale of the radio lobes, and see X-ray cavities coincident with the brightest radio emission, with the lobes embraced by X-ray enhancements that we argue are the result of shocks. The anti-correlation between the locations of X-ray arms and H$\alpha$-emitting filaments that are believed to have originated from a merger with one or more gas-rich galaxies suggests that shocks advancing around the lobe are inhibited by the dense colder material. Synchrotron X-ray emission is detected from the upstream edge of a second bright radio knot. X-rays are also detected from the location where an undetected counterjet enters the northern radio hotspot. We suggest that these X-rays are synchrotron radiation from a shock in a small-scale substructure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date5 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: jets
  • galaxies: individual (3C 277.3, Coma A)
  • galaxies: ISM
  • radio continuum: galaxies
  • X-rays: galaxies


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