Journal Article

Signatures of large-scale magnetic fields in active galactic nuclei jets: transverse asymmetries

E. Clausen-Brown, M. Lyutikov and P. Kharb

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 3, pages 2081-2092
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Signatures of large-scale magnetic fields in active galactic nuclei jets: transverse asymmetries

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We investigate the emission properties that a large-scale helical magnetic field imprints on active galactic nuclei (AGN) jet synchrotron radiation. A cylindrically symmetric relativistic jet and large-scale helical magnetic field produce significant asymmetrical features in transverse profiles of fractional linear polarization, intensity, the Faraday rotation and spectral index. The asymmetrical features of these transverse profiles correlate with one another in ways specified by the handedness of the helical field, the jet viewing angle (θob) and the bulk Lorentz factor of the flow (Γ). Thus, these correlations may be used to determine the structure of the magnetic field in the jet. In the case of radio galaxies (θob∼ 1 rad) and a subclass of blazars with particularly small viewing angles (θob≪ 1/Γ), we find an edge-brightened intensity profile that is similar to that observed in the radio galaxy M87. We present observations of the AGNs 3C 78 and NRAO 140 that display the type of transverse asymmetries that may be produced by large-scale helical magnetic fields.

Keywords: MHD; polarization; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; galaxies: active; galaxies: jets

Journal Article.  9808 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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