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T. S. Statler, S. Diehl (Ohio Univ.)
We present results from a morphological analysis of the hot gas in 56 elliptical galaxies in the Chandra archive. We disentangle the hot gas in these systems from resolved and unresolved point source emission and apply an innovative adaptive binning technique to study the spatial structure of the hot gas. The gas often appears to be disturbed. We fit elliptical isophotes to the gas emission to quantify the deviation from circular symmetry, and find that the gas ellipticity is completely uncorrelated with optical ellipticity. The gas morphology is frequently less round than the starlight, and nearly always less round than the stellar potential. Unless dark halos are almost universally extremely flat (which is unlikely), this result implies that the hot gas in ellipticals is sufficiently far from hydrostatic equilibrium that it cannot be used to reveal the shape of the underlying gravitational potential.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.