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The Astrophysical Journal


We present an analysis of a 72 ks Chandra observation of the double cluster Abell 1644 (z = 0.047). The X-ray temperatures indicate that the masses are M 500 = (2.6 ± 0.4) × 1014 h –1 M for the northern sub-cluster and M 500 = (3.1 ± 0.4) × 1014 h –1 M for the southern, main cluster. We identify a sharp edge in the radial X-ray surface brightness of the main cluster, which we find to be a cold front, with a jump in temperature of a factor of ~3. This edge possesses a spiral morphology characteristic of core gas sloshing around the cluster potential minimum. We present observational evidence, supported by hydrodynamic simulations, that the northern sub-cluster is the object that initiated the core gas sloshing in the main cluster at least 700 Myr ago. We discuss reheating of the main cluster's core gas via two mechanisms brought about by the sloshing gas: first, the release of gravitational potential energy gained by the core's displacement from the potential minimum, and second, a dredging inward of the outer, higher entropy cluster gas along finger-shaped streams. We find that the available gravitational potential energy is small compared to the energy released by the cooling gas in the core.