RadioAstron space VLBI imaging of the radio galaxy 3C 84 at 22 GHz

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Title: RadioAstron space VLBI imaging of the radio galaxy 3C 84 at 22 GHz
Author: Benke, Petra
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Helsingfors universitet, Matematisk-naturvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Alkeishiukkasfysiikan ja astrofysikaalisten tieteiden maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Particle physics and Astrophysical Sciences
Magisterprogrammet i elementarpartikelfysik och astrofysikaliska vetenskaper
Specialisation: Astrofysikaaliset tieteet
Astrophysical Sciences
De astrofysikaliska vetenskaperna
Abstract: Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are one of the most powerful sources of the luminous Universe. Radio-loud AGN exhibit prominent relativistic outflows known as jets, whose synchrotron radiation can be detected in the radio domain. The launching, evolution and variable nature of these sources is still not fully understood. We study 3C 84, because its proximity, brightness and the intermittent nature of its jet makes it a good target to investigate these open questions of the AGN phenomena. 3C 84 (optical counterpart: NGC 1275) is a Fanaroff-Riley type I radio galaxy, located in the Perseus cluster at z = 0.0176. Due to its close proximity, 3C 84 has been a favourable target for observations throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum, especially for ones in the radio domain. Its most recent activity started 2003, when a new component emerged from the core in the form of a restarted parsec-scale jet. This provided a rare opportunity to study the formation and evolution of a jet (see Nagai et al. 2010, 2014, 2017 and Suzuki et al. 2012). The highest resolution results were obtained by Giovannini et al. (2018), who imaged the source with the Global VLBI Network together with the Space Radio Telescope, RadioAstron. This enabled them to capture the limb-brightened structure of the restarted jet and measure its collimation profile from ~350 gravitational radii. In this work I present the 22 GHz RadioAstron observations carried out 3 years later, in a similar configuration, but with a significantly different sampling of the space baselines than the ones presented in Giovannini et al. (2018). The calibration was carried out in the Astronomical Image Processing System (AIPS), whereas imaging was done in Difmap (Shepherd 1997). The aim of this thesis work was to obtain a high-resolution image of the source, measure the collimation profile of the restarted jet, and compare the results with those of Giovannini et al. (2018) and verify the observed source structures and measured jet properties, if possible. Comparing the images of the two epochs (angular resolution of the 2016 observations is 0.217x0.072 mas at Pa=-49.6°), they both show a similar structure, with the radio core, a diffuse emission region (C2), and the hotspot (C3) at the end of the restarted jet. Edge-brightening is confirmed in the jet and the counter-jet. However, the jet has advanced ~1 mas, corresponding to the velocity of 0.55c. C3 has moved from the center of the feature to the jet head, indicating an interaction between the jet and the clumpy external medium (Kino et al. , 2018 and Nagai et al., 2017). The base of the jet has also changed between the observation, approximately by ~20°. In the light that in the 1990s the jet pointed towards C2, then swinged westwards when the jet emerged (Suzuki et al., 2012 and Giovannini et al., 2018), and on the 2016 image has moved towards its initial position. This suggest a precessing jet, observed and modeled by Dominik et al. (2021) and Britzen et al. (2019). Measuring the brightness temperature of the core and the hotspot shows a signifacant drop of 70% and 50% since the 2013 measurements, respectively, due to emission of jet material and the expansion of the jet. Jet width measurements between 1200 and 19000 gravitational radii reveal a less cylindrical collimation profile, with r ~ z0.31 – where z is the de-projected distance from the core and r is the width of the jet. The evolution of the restarted jet’s profile from quasi-cylindrical (Giovannini et al. 2018) to less cylindrical implies that the cocoon surrounding the jet (Savolainen, 2018) cannot confine the jet material as it moves further from the core. The measured collimation profile corresponds to a slowly decreasing density, and more steeply decreasing pressure gradient in the external medium. Since the closest jet width measurement is only at 1200 gravitational radii from the core (here the jet width is 750 gravitational radii), it cannot confirm the wide jet base measured by Giovannini et al. (2018) at 350 gravitational radii. Based on this result, we arrive at the same conclusion as Giovannini et al. (2018), that the jet is either launched from the accretion disk, or it is ergosphere-launched, but undergoes a quick lateral expansion below 1000 gravitational radii.

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