Observations are beginning to be sensitive enough to see the outskirts of galaxy clusters, where theory predicts interesting features in the dark matter and gas profiles: the so-called splashback and the accretion shock. Scientists at MPA use an analytical model to compute the locations of these features, and shed new light on the underlying physics.
Providing a simple model for complex cosmic phenomena is one of the goals of theoretical astrophysics. When successful, such a model yields a deeper understanding of the underlying physics. Recently scientists at MPA have done just this for better understanding what happens at the outskirts of galaxy clusters.