Researchers are undertaking a volume limited survey of the Hydra I cluster in neutral hydrogen using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array (VLA). The main purpose is to study the effects of a dense environment on the gaseous component of the galaxies. Observational evidence has been accumulating recently that ram pressure sweeping does occur in the centers of clusters, but it is possible that tidal interactions play a role as well. Results of high resolution HI imaging of NGC 3312, the large peculiar spiral near the cluster center are presented. Hydra I (= A1060) is the nearest rich cluster beyond Virgo and, as such, presents a unique opportunity to do a complete survey of a cluster. It is similar to the Virgo cluster in many of its general physical characteristics, such as size, x ray luminosity, velocity dispersion, and galaxy content (high spiral fraction). However, Hydra I appears to be more regular and relaxed. This is evident in the x ray distribution in its central region, which is radially symmetric and centered on the dominant galaxy, NGC 3311, a cD-like elliptical. The observed x ray luminosity implies a central gas density of 4.5 x 10 to the 3rd power cm(-3). Gallagher (1978) argued from optical images of NGC 3312 that this galaxy might be an ideal candidate to directly study effects of the ram pressure process; it might currently be undergoing stripping of its interstellar medium. The researchers' data are consistent with this suggestion, but other origins of the peculiar appearance cannot yet be ruled out.
NASA, Ames Research Center, The Interstellar Medium in External Galaxies: Summaries of Contributed Papers; p 217-220