Journal Article

Multifrequency polarization properties of 10 quasars on decaparsec scales at <i>z</i> > 3

S. P. O’Sullivan, D. C. Gabuzda and L. I. Gurvits

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 4, pages 3049-3064
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Multifrequency polarization properties of 10 quasars on decaparsec scales at z > 3

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Global very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) (European VLBI Network + Very Long Baseline Array) polarization observations at 5 and 8.4 GHz of 10 high-redshift (z > 3) quasars are presented. The core and jet brightness temperatures are found through modelling the self-calibrated uv data with Gaussian components, which provide reliable estimates of the flux density and the size of the individual components. The observed high core brightness temperatures (median Tb, core= 4 × 1011 K) are consistent with Doppler-boosted emission from a relativistic jet orientated close to the line of sight. This can also explain the dramatic jet bends observed for some of our sources since small intrinsic bends can be significantly amplified due to projection effects in a highly beamed relativistic jet. We also model-fit the polarized emission and, by taking the minimum angle separation between the model-fitted polarization angles at 5 and 8.4 GHz, we calculate the minimum inferred Faraday rotation measure (RMmin) for each component. We also calculate the minimum intrinsic RM in the rest frame of the active galactic nuclei (AGN) [RMintrmin= RMmin(1 +z)2], first subtracting the integrated (presumed foreground) RM in those cases where we felt we could do this reliably. The resulting mean core |RMintrmin| is 5580 rad m−2, with a standard deviation of 3390 rad m−2, for four high-z quasars for which we believe we could reliably remove the foreground RM. We find relatively steep core and jet spectral index values, with a median core spectral index of −0.3 and a median jet spectral index of −1.0. Comparing our results with RM observations of more nearby AGN at similar emitted frequencies does not provide any significant evidence for dependence of the quasar nuclear environment with redshift. However, more accurate RM and spectral information for a larger sample of sources would be required before making any conclusive statements about the environment of quasar jets in the early universe.

Keywords: galaxies: jets; galaxies: magnetic fields; radio continuum: galaxies

Journal Article.  8937 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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