7,857 research outputs found

    Diffuse polarized emission associated with the Perseus cluster

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    We report on full-polarization radio observations of the Perseus cluster (Abell 426) using the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) at wavelengths from 81-95 cm. We have employed a novel technique, Rotation Measure synthesis (Brentjens and de Bruyn, 2005) to unravel the polarization properties of the emission across the full field of view and detect polarized emission over a wide range of RM from about 0 to 90 rad m^-2. The low RM emission is associated with our Galaxy, while the high RM emission is associated with the Perseus cluster. The latter reaches typical surface brightness levels of 0.5-1 mJy per beam and must be rather highly polarized. Most of the peripheral polarized emission appears too bright, by about 1-2 orders of magnitude, to be explainable as Thomson scattered emission of the central radio source off the thermal electrons in the cluster. The bulk of the emission associated with the Perseus cluster is probably related to buoyant bubbles of relativistic plasma, probably relics from still active or now dormant AGN within the cluster. A lenticular shaped structure measuring 0.5-1 Mpc is strikingly similar to the structures predicted by Ensslin et al. (1998). At the western edge of the cluster, we detect very long, linear structures that may be related to shocks caused by infall of gas into the Perseus cluster.Comment: 18 pages, 17 figures, accepted by A&A, corrected small typo, added referenc

    Structure in the local Galactic ISM on scales down to 1 pc, from multi-band radio polarization observations

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    We discuss observations of the linearly polarized component of the diffuse galactic radio background. These observations, with an angular resolution of 4', were made with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) in 5 frequency bands in the range 341-375 MHz. The linearly polarized intensity P (with polarized brightness temperature going up to 10K) shows a `cloudy' structure, with characteristic scales of 15'-30', which contains relatively long, but very narrow `canals' (essentially unresolved) in which P is only a small fraction of that in the neighbouring beams. These `canals' are generally seen in more than one frequency band, although their appearance changes between bands. They are probably due to depolarization within the synthesized beam, because the change in polarization angle across the deepest `canals' is in general close to 90 degrees (or 270 etc.). These very abrupt changes in polarization angle, which are seen only across the `canals', seem to be accompanied by abrupt changes in the Rotation Measure (RM), which may have the right magnitude to create the difference of close to 90 degrees in polarization angle, and thereby the `canals'. The structure in the polarization maps is most likely due to Faraday rotation modulation of the probably smooth polarized radiation emitted in the halo of our Galaxy by the fairly local ISM (up to 500 pc). Therefore, the abrupt changes of RM across the `canals' provide evidence for very thin (about 1 pc), and relatively long transition regions in the ISM, across which the RM changes by as much as 100%. Such drastic RM changes may well be due primarily to abrupt changes in the magnetic field.Comment: 4 pages, 4 figures, to be published in A&A Letter

    Micro & strong lensing with the Square Kilometer Array: The mass--function of compact objects in high--redshift galaxies

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    We present the results from recent VLA 8.5-GHz and WSRT 1.4 and 4.9-GHz monitoring campaigns of the CLASS gravitational lens B1600+434 and show how the observed variations argue strongly in favor of microlensing by MACHOs in the halo of a dark-matter dominated edge-on disk galaxy at z=0.4. The population of flat-spectrum radio sources with micro-Jy flux-densities detected with the Square-Kilometer-Array is expected to have dimensions of micro-arcsec. They will therefore vary rapidly as a result of Galactic scintillation (diffractive and refractive). However, when positioned behind distant galaxies they will also show variations due to microlensing, even more strongly than in the case of B1600+434. Relativistic or superluminal motion in these background sources typically leads to temporal variations on time scales of days to weeks. Scintillation and microlensing can be distinguished, and separated, by their different characteristic time scales and the frequency dependence of their modulations. Monitoring studies with Square-Kilometer-Array at GHz frequencies will thus probe both microscopic and macroscopic properties of dark matter and its mass-function as a function of redshift, information very hard to obtain by any other method.Comment: 8 pages, 5 figures, to appear in Perspectives in Radio Astronomy: Scientific Imperatives at cm and m Wavelengths (Dwingeloo: NFRA), Edited by: M.P. van Haarlem & J.M. van der Huls

    Parsec-scale structure in the warm ISM from polarized galactic radio background observations

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    We present multi-frequency polarization observations of the diffuse radio synchrotron background modulated by Faraday rotation, in two directions of positive latitude. No extended total intensity I is observed, which implies that total intensity has no structure on scales smaller than approximately a degree. Polarized intensity and polarization angle, however, show abundant small-scale structure on scales from arcminutes to degrees. Rotation Measure (RM) maps show coherent structure over many synthesized beams, but also abrupt large changes over one beam. RM's from polarized extragalactic point sources are correlated over the field in each of the two fields, indicating a galactic component to the RM, but show no correlation with the RM map of the diffuse radiation. The upper limit in structure in I puts constraints on the random and regular components of the magnetic field in the galactic interstellar medium and halo. The emission is partly depolarized so that the observed polarization mostly originates from a nearby part of the medium. This explains the lack of correlation between RM from diffuse emission and from extragalactic point sources as the latter is built up over the entire path length through the medium.Comment: To appear in "Astrophysical Polarized Backgrounds", Conference Proceedings, eds S. Cecchini, S. Cortiglioni, R. Sault and C. Sbarra, in pres

    HI and OH absorption at z=0.89

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    We report on WSRT observations of HI and OH absorption at z=0.885 towards the radio lens PKS 1830-21, mm wave transitions of several molecular species have already been observed at this redshift. At mm wavelengths the source structure is dominated by two extremely compact components, the northeast (NE) and southwest (SW) components. At lower frequencies the continuum emission is much more extended and there is also a broad Einstein ring connecting the NE and SW components. This means that the HI and OH spectra sample a much larger region of the absorber than the mm wave spectra. The HI spectrum that we obtain is asymmetric, with a peak at -147 km/s with respect to the main molecular line redshift of z=0.88582. Weak mm wave molecular absorption has also been detected towards the NE component at this same velocity. The HI absorption, however, covers a total velocity width of 300 km/sec, i.e. including velocities well to the red of molecular features suggesting that it is spatially widespread. In OH we detect both the 1667 and the 1665 MHz transitions. The OH spectrum has a velocity width comparable to that of the HI spectrum, suggesting that it too is widespread in the absorber. The lack of a prominent HI peak in the spectrum at the velocity corresponding to the SW component, suggests that the galaxy responsible for the absorption at z=0.885 has a central molecular disk many kpc in size, and that HI is deficient in this central region. Our observations are sensitive to the large scale kinematics of the absorber, and to first order the implied dynamical mass is consistent with the lens models of Nair et. al. (1993).Comment: 4 pages, 3 figure

    Deceleration of Relativistic Radio Components and the morphologies of Gigahertz Peaked Spectrum Sources

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    A relativistic radio component, which moves in a direction close to the sky plane, will increase in flux density when it decelerates. This effect is the basis for the qualitative model for GPS galaxies we present in this paper, which can explain their low-variability convex spectrum, their compact double or compact symmetric morphology, and the lack of GPS quasars at similar redshifts. Components are expelled from the nucleus at relativistic speeds at a large angle to the line of sight, and are decelerated (eg. by ram-pressure or entrainment of the external gas) before contributing to a mini-lobe. The young components are Doppler boosted in the direction of motion but appear fainter for the observer. The non-relativistic mini-lobes dominate the structure and are responsible for the low variability in flux density and the convex radio spectrum as well as the compact double angular morphology. Had the same source been orientated at a small angle to the line of sight, the young components would be boosted in the observer's direction resulting in a flat and variable radio spectrum at high frequencies. Hence the characteristic convex spectrum of a GPS source would not be seen. These sources at small angles to the line of sight are probably identified with quasars, and are not recognized as GPS sources, but are embedded in the large population of flat spectrum variable quasars and BL Lac objects. This leads to a deficiency in GPS/CSOs identified with quasars.Comment: 11 pages, LaTeX, accepted by A&A 26/Jan/199
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