A deep radio survey of Abell 2125. II. Accelerated galaxy evolution during a cluster-cluster merger
Using our extensive radio, optical, near-IR, and X-ray imaging and spectroscopy, we consider the reason for the unusually large number of radio-detected galaxies, mostly found outside the cluster core, in Abell 2125 (z = 0.2465, richness class 4). With 20 cm VLA data, we detect continuum emission from 90 cluster members. The multiwavelength properties of these galaxies suggest that most of the radio emission is due to an enhanced star formation rate. The recent dynamical study of Miller et al. suggests that A2125 is undergoing a major cluster-cluster merger, with our view within 30degrees of the merger axis and within 0.2 Gyr of core passage. The combination of projection effects and the physical processes at work during this special time in the cluster's evolution seem likely to be responsible for the unusual level of activity we see in the cluster. We argue that tidal effects on individual cluster members, often far from the cluster core, are responsible for the increased star formation. Our results are consistent with the idea that disk galaxies during this phase of a cluster's evolution undergo rapid evolution through a burst of star formation on their way to becoming S0 galaxies.