A first estimate of radio halo statistics from large-scale cosmological simulation

P. M. Sutter, P. M. Ricker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a first estimate based on a cosmological gas dynamics simulation of galaxy cluster radio halo counts to be expected in forthcoming low-frequency radio surveys. Our estimate is based on a FLASH simulation of the ΛCDM model for which we have assigned radio power to clusters via a model that relates radio emissivity to cluster magnetic field strength, intracluster turbulence, and density. We vary several free parameters of this model and find that radio halo number counts vary by up to a factor of two for average magnetic fields ranging from 0.2 to 3.1 μG. However, we predict significantly fewer low-frequency radio halos than expected from previous semi-analytic estimates, although this discrepancy could be explained by frequency-dependent radio halo probabilities as predicted in reacceleration models. We find that upcoming surveys will have difficulty in distinguishing models because of large uncertainties and low number counts. Additionally, according to our modeling we find that expected number counts can be degenerate with both reacceleration and hadronic secondary models of cosmic-ray generation. We find that relations between radio power and mass and X-ray luminosity may be used to distinguish models, and by building mock radio sky maps we demonstrate that surveys such as LOFAR may have sufficient resolution and sensitivity to break this model degeneracy by imaging many individual clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number92
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 10 2012


  • galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • hydrodynamics
  • magnetic fields
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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