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The environment of the high-redshift (z = 1.408), powerful radio-loud galaxy 3C 297 has several distinctive features of a galaxy cluster. Among them, a characteristic halo of hot gas revealed by Chandra X-ray observations. In addition, a radio map obtained with the Very Large Array shows a bright hotspot in the northwestern direction, created by the interaction of the active galactic nucleus (AGN) jet arising from 3C 297 with its environment. In the X-ray images, emission cospatial with the northwestern radio lobe is detected, and peaks at the position of the radio hotspot. The extended, complex X-ray emission observed with our new Chandra data is largely unrelated to its radio structure. Despite having attributes of a galaxy cluster, no companion galaxies have been identified from 39 new spectra of neighboring targets of 3C 297 obtained with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph. None of the 19 galaxies for which a redshift was determined lies at the same distance as 3C 297. The optical spectral analysis of the new Gemini spectrum of 3C 297 reveals an isolated Type II radio-loud AGN. We also detected line broadening in [O ii] λ3728 with a FWHM about 1700 km s−1 and possible line shifts of up to 500–600 km s−1. We postulate that the host galaxy of 3C 297 is a fossil group, in which most of the stellar mass has merged into a single object, leaving behind an X-ray halo.


© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series





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