T. G. Arshakian

University of Cologne, Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (59)95.33 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Several narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1s) have now been detected in gamma rays, providing firm evidence that at least some of this class of active galactic nuclei (AGN) produce relativistic jets. The presence of jets in NLS1s is surprising, as these sources are typified by comparatively small black hole masses and near- or super-Eddington accretion rates. This challenges the current understanding of the conditions necessary for jet production. Comparing the properties of the jets in NLS1s with those in more familiar jetted systems is thus essential to improve jet production models. We present early results from our campaign to monitor the kinematics and polarization of the parsec-scale jets in a sample of 15 NLS1s through multifrequency observations with the Very Long Baseline Array. These observations are complemented by fast-cadence 15 GHz monitoring with the Owens Valley Radio Observatory 40m telescope and optical spectroscopic monitoring with with the 2m class telescope at the Guillermo Haro Astrophysics Observatory in Cananea, Mexico.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: AGN reverberate when the broad emission lines respond to changes of the ionizing thermal continuum emission. Reverberation measurements have been commonly used to estimate the size of the broad-line region (BLR) and the mass of the central black hole. However, reverberation mapping studies have been mostly performed on radio-quiet sources where the contribution of the jet can be neglected. In radio-loud AGN, jets and outflows may affect substantially the relation observed between the ionizing continuum and the line emission. To investigate this relation, we have conducted a series of multiwavelength studies of radio-loud AGN, combining optical spectral line monitoring with regular VLBI observations. Our results suggest that at least a fraction of the broad-line emitting material can be located in a sub-relativistic outflow ionized by non-thermal continuum emission generated in the jet at large distances (> 1pc) from the central engine of AGN. This finding may have a strong impact on black hole mass estimates based on measured widths of the broad emission lines and on the gamma-ray emission mechanisms.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Ridge lines on the pc-scale jet of the active galactic nucleus BL Lac display transverse patterns that move superluminally downstream. The patterns are not ballistic, but are analogous to waves on a whip. Their apparent speeds $\beta_\mathrm{app}$ (units of $c$) range from 4.2 to 13.5, corresponding to $\beta_\mathrm{wave}^\mathrm{gal}= 0.981 - 0.998$ in the galaxy frame. We show that the magnetic field in the jet is well-ordered with a strong transverse component, and assume that it is helical and that the transverse patterns are longitudinal Alfv\'en waves. The wave-induced transverse speed of the jet is non-relativistic ($\beta_\mathrm{tr}^\mathrm{gal}\sim 0.09$) and in agreement with our assumption of low-amplitude waves. In 2010 the wave activity subsided and the jet displayed a mild wiggle that had a complex oscillatory behavior. The waves are excited by changes in the position angle of the recollimation shock, in analogy to exciting a wave on a whip by shaking it. Simple models of the system are presented; the preferred one assumes that the sound speed in the plasma is $\rm\beta_s=0.3$ and this, combined with the measured speeds of the Alfv\'en wave and a component that is assumed to be an MHD slow wave, results in Lorentz factor of the jet $\Gamma_\mathrm{jet}\sim 2.8$, pitch angle of the helix (in the jet frame) $\alpha\sim 43\deg$, Alfv\'en speed $\beta_\mathrm{A}\sim 0.86$, and magnetosonic Mach number $M_\mathrm{ms}\sim 1.5$. This describes a plasma in which the magnetic field is dominant but not overwhelmingly so, and the field is in a moderate helix.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1) are a class of active galactic nuclei that share many observational properties with the much more powerful blazar classes. Despite their low black hole masses (typically 10^6-10^8 solar masses) and near- or super-Eddington accretion rates, a small minority are radio loud (RLNLS1s). A growing number of these have been detected in GeV gamma rays by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), indicating that a relativistic jet has formed in at least some of these sources. This presents a challenge to jet models, but may provide a link between jets found at the small scales of galactic binaries and the large scales of giant quasars. We are carrying out a multifrequency polarimetric radio monitoring campaign of a sample of 15 RLNLS1s using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). Using data from this program, we will expand the currently limited knowledge of the parsec-scale properties and kinematics of this class of sources. We are complementing this campaign with fast-cadence single dish radio monitoring with the Owens Valley Radio Observatory 40m telescope and an optical spectroscopic monitoring campaign using the GHAO 2m-class telescope in Cananea, Mexico.
    American Astronomical Society, HEAD meeting #14, #106.08, Chicago, IL, USA; 08/2014
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    Tigran G. Arshakian, Vahram Chavushyan
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    ABSTRACT: The empirical relations in the black hole-accretion disk-relativistic jet system and physical processes behind these relations are still poorly understood, partly because they operate close to the black hole within the central light year. Very long baseline array (VLBA) provides unparalleled resolution at 15 GHz with which to observe the jet components at sub-milliarcsecond scales, corresponding to sub-pc-scales for local blazars. We discuss the jet inner structure of blazars, location and radiation mechanisms operating in the innermost parsec-scale region of blazars, and evidence for jet-excited broad-line region (BLR) ouflowing downstream the jet. Outflowing BLR can provide necessary conditions for production of high energy emission along the jet between the base of the jet and the BLR and far beyond the BLR as evidenced by recent observations. Flat spectrum quasars and low synchrotron peaked sources are the most likely objects to host the outfllowing BLR. From the γ-ray absorption arguments, we propose that the jet-excited region of the outflowing BLR in quasars is small and/or gas filling factor is low, and that the orientation and opening angle of the outflowing BLR can lead to relevant γ-ray absorption features observed in quasars.
    Multiwavelength AGN Surveys and Studies, Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, IAU Symposium, Armenia; 06/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Parsec-scale VLBA images of BL Lac at 15 GHz show that the jet contains a permanent quasi-stationary emission feature 0.26 mas (0.34 pc projected) from the core, along with numerous moving features. In projection, the tracks of the moving features cluster around an axis at position angle -166.6 deg that connects the core with the standing feature. The moving features appear to emanate from the standing feature in a manner strikingly similar to the results of numerical 2-D relativistic magneto-hydrodynamic (RMHD) simulations in which moving shocks are generated at a recollimation shock. Because of this, and the close analogy to the jet feature HST-1 in M87, we identify the standing feature in BL Lac as a recollimation shock. We assume that the magnetic field dominates the dynamics in the jet, and that the field is predominantly toroidal. From this we suggest that the moving features are compressions established by slow and fast mode magneto-acoustic MHD waves. We illustrate the situation with a simple model in which the slowest moving feature is a slow-mode wave, and the fastest feature is a fast-mode wave. In the model the beam has Lorentz factor about 3.5 in the frame of the host galaxy, and the fast mode wave has Lorentz factor about 1.6 in the frame of the beam. This gives a maximum apparent speed for the moving features 10c. In this model the Lorentz factor of the pattern in the galaxy frame is approximately 3 times larger than that of the beam itself.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2014; 787(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1) are a class of active galactic nuclei that share many observational properties with the much more powerful blazar classes. Despite their low black hole masses (typically 10^6-10^8 solar masses) and near- or super-Eddington accretion rates, a small minority are radio loud (RLNLS1s). A growing number of these have been detected in GeV gamma rays by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), indicating that a relativistic jet has formed in at least some of these sources. This presents a challenge to jet models, but may provide a link between jets found at the small scales of galactic binaries and the large scales of giant quasars. We are carrying out a multifrequency polarimetric radio monitoring campaign of a sample of 15 RLNLS1s using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). Using data from this program, we will expand the currently limited knowledge of the parsec-scale properties and kinematics of this class of sources. We are complementing this campaign with fast-cadence single dish radio monitoring with the Owens Valley Radio Observatory 40m telescope and an optical spectroscopic monitoring campaign using the GHAO 2m-class telescope in Cananea, Mexico.
    American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #223, #251.01, Washington DC, USA; 01/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Polarization measurements at low radio frequencies allow detection of small Faraday rotation measures caused by regular magnetic fields in galaxies and in the foreground of the Milky Way. The galaxy M31 was observed in two overlapping pointings with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) resulting in ~4' resolution in total intensity and linearly polarized emission. The frequency range 310-376 MHz was covered by 1024 channels which allowed the application of RM synthesis. We derived a data cube in Faraday depth and compared two symmetric ranges of negative and positive Faraday depths. This new method avoids the range of high instrumental polarization and allows the detection of very low degrees of polarization. For the first time, diffuse polarized emission from a nearby galaxy is detected below 1 GHz. The degree of polarization is only 0.21 +/- 0.05 %, consistent with extrapolation of internal depolarization from data at higher radio frequency. A catalogue of 33 polarized sources and their Faraday rotation in the M31 field is presented. Their average depolarization is DP(90,20) = 0.14 +/- 0.02, 7 times stronger depolarized than at 1.4 GHz. We argue that this strong depolarization originates within the sources, e.g. in their radio lobes, or in intervening galaxies on the line of sight. On the other hand, the Faraday rotation of the sources is mostly produced in the foreground of the Milky Way and varies significantly across the ~9 square degree M31 field. As expected, polarized emission from M31 and extragalactic background sources is much weaker at low frequencies compared to the GHz range. Future observations with LOFAR, with high sensitivity and high angular resolution to reduce depolarization, may reveal diffuse polarization from the outer disks and halos of galaxies.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. Observations of polarized radio emission show that large-scale (regular) magnetic fields in spiral galaxies are not axisymmetric, but generally stronger in interarm regions. In some nearby galaxies such as NGC 6946 they are organized in narrow magnetic arms situated between the material spiral arms. Aims. The phenomenon of magnetic arms and their relation to the optical spiral arms (the material arms) call for an explanation in the framework of galactic dynamo theory. Several possibilities have been suggested but are not completely satisfactory; here we attempt a consistent investigation. Methods. We use a 2D mean-field dynamo model in the no-z approximation and add injections of small-scale magnetic field, taken to result from supernova explosions, to represent the effects of dynamo action on smaller scales. This injection of small scale field is situated along the spiral arms, where star-formation mostly occurs. Results. A straightforward explanation of magnetic arms as a result of modulation of the dynamo mechanism by material arms struggles to produce pronounced magnetic arms, at least with realistic parameters, without introducing new effects such as a time lag between Coriolis force and {\alpha}-effect. In contrast, by taking into account explicitly the small-scale magnetic field that is injected into the arms by the action of the star forming regions that are concentrated there, we can obtain dynamo models with magnetic structures of various forms that can be compared with magnetic arms. (abbrev). Conclusions. We conclude that magnetic arms can be considered as coherent magnetic structures generated by large-scale dynamo action, and associated with spatially modulated small-scale magnetic fluctuations, caused by enhanced star formation rates within the material arms.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is the most ambitious radio telescope ever planned. With a collecting area of about a square kilometre, the SKA will be far superior in sensitivity and observing speed to all current radio facilities. The scientific capability promised by the SKA and its technological challenges provide an ideal base for interdisciplinary research, technology transfer, and collaboration between universities, research centres and industry. The SKA in the radio regime and the European Extreme Large Telescope (E-ELT) in the optical band are on the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and have been recognised as the essential facilities for European research in astronomy. This "White Paper" outlines the German science and R&D interests in the SKA project and will provide the basis for future funding applications to secure German involvement in the Square Kilometre Array.
    01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the detection of a statistically significant flare-like event in the Mg II λ2800 emission line of 3C 454.3 during the outburst of autumn 2010. The highest levels of emission line flux recorded over the monitoring period (2008-2011) coincide with a superluminal jet component traversing through the radio core. This finding crucially links the broad emission line fluctuations to the non-thermal continuum emission produced by relativistically moving material in the jet and hence to the presence of broad-line region clouds surrounding the radio core. If the radio core were located at several parsecs from the central black hole, then our results would suggest the presence of broad-line region material outside the inner parsec where the canonical broad-line region is envisaged to be located. We briefly discuss the implications of broad emission line material ionized by non-thermal continuum in the context of virial black hole mass estimates and gamma-ray production mechanisms.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 01/2013; 763(2):36. · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We obtained observational evidence for the link between variability of the radio emission of the compact jet, optical and X-ray continua emission and ejections of new jet components in the radio galaxy 3C 390.3.
    Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions 01/2012;
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    Tigran G. Arshakian, Rainer Beck
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    ABSTRACT: Polarized radio synchrotron emission from interstellar, intracluster and intergalactic magnetic fields is affected by frequency-dependent Faraday depolarization. The maximum polarized intensity depends on the physical properties of the depolarizing medium. New-generation radio telescopes such as Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and its precursors need a wide range of frequencies to cover the full range of objects. The optimum frequency of maximum polarized intensity (PI) is computed for the cases of depolarization in magneto-ionic media by regular magnetic fields (differential Faraday rotation) or by turbulent magnetic fields (internal or external Faraday dispersion), assuming that the Faraday spectrum of the medium is dominated by one component or that the medium is turbulent. Polarized emission from bright galaxy discs, spiral arms and cores of galaxy clusters are best observed at wavelengths below a few centimetres (at frequencies beyond about 10 GHz), haloes of galaxies and clusters around decimetre wavelengths (at frequencies below about 2 GHz). Intergalactic filaments need observations at metre wavelengths (frequencies below 300 MHz). Sources with extremely large intrinsic rotation measure | RM | or RM dispersion can be searched with mm-wave telescopes. Measurement of the PI spectrum allows us to derive the average Faraday | RM | or the Faraday dispersion within the source, as demonstrated for the case of the spiral galaxy NGC 6946. Periodic fluctuations in PI at low frequencies are a signature of differential Faraday rotation. Internal and external Faraday dispersion can be distinguished by the different slopes of the PI spectrum at low frequencies. A wide band around the optimum frequency is important to distinguish between varieties of depolarization effects.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2011; 418(4):2336 - 2342. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Magnetic fields in nearby, star-forming galaxies reveal both large-scale patterns and small-scale structures. A large-scale field reversal may exist in the Milky Way but no such reversals have been observed so far in external galaxies. The effects of star-forming regions of galaxies need to be included when modelling the evolution of their magnetic fields, which can then be compared to future radio polarization observations. The causes of large-scale field reversals also need clarification. Our model of field evolution in isolated disc galaxies includes a standard mean-field dynamo and continuous injection of turbulent fields (the effect of supernova explosions) in discrete star forming regions by implicit small-scale dynamo action. Synthetic maps of radio synchrotronemission and Faraday rotation measures are computed. A large-scale dynamo is essential to obtain regular large-scale spiral magnetic fields, observed in many galaxies. These appear, on kpc scales in near energy equilibrium with the turbulence, after 1-2 Gyr (redshift 4-3). Turbulent field injection generates small-scale field structures. Depending on model parameters, large-scale field reversals may persist over many Gyrs and can survive until the present epoch. Significant polarized radio synchrotron emission from young galaxies is expected at redshifts less than 4. Faraday rotation measures (RM) are crucial to detect field reversals. Large-scale patterns ofrotation measures can be observed at redshifts less than 3. Our model can explain the general form of axisymmetric spiral fields with many local distortions, as observed in nearby galaxies. For a slightly different choice of parameters, large-scale field reversals can persist over the lifetime of a galaxy. Comparison of our synthetic maps with future observations of distant galaxies with the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will allow refinement of models.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2011; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an optical spectroscopic atlas at intermediate resolution (8-15A) for 123 core-dominated radio-loud active galactic nuclei with relativistic jets, drawn from the MOJAVE/2cm sample at 15GHz. It is the first time that spectroscopic and photometric parameters for a large sample of such type of AGN are presented. The atlas includes spectral parameters for the emission lines Hb, [O III] 5007, Mg II 2798 and/or C IV 1549 and corresponding data for the continuum, as well as the luminosities and equivalent widths of the Fe II UV/optical. It also contains the homogeneous photometric information in the B-band for 242 sources of the sample, with a distribution peak at BJ=18.0 and a magnitude interval of 11.1< BJ <23.7.
    Revista mexicana de astronomía y astrofísica 07/2011; · 1.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Future radio observations with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and its precursors will be sensitive to trace spiral galaxies and their magnetic field configurations up to redshift z ≈ 3. We suggest an evolutionary model for the magnetic configuration in star-forming disk galaxies and simulate the magnetic field distribution, the total and polarized synchrotron emission, and the Faraday rotation measures for disk galaxies at z ≲ 3. Since details of dynamo action in young galaxies are quite uncertain, we model the dynamo action heuristically relying only on well-established ideas of the form and evolution of magnetic fields produced by the mean-field dynamo in a thin disk. We assume a small-scale seed field which is then amplified by the small-scale turbulent dynamo up to energy equipartition with kinetic energy of turbulence. The large-scale galactic dynamo starts from seed fields of 100 pc and an averaged regular field strength of 0.02 μG, which then evolves to a “spotty” magnetic field configuration in about 0.8 Gyr with scales of about one kpc and an averaged regular field strength of 0.6 μG. The evolution of these magnetic spots is simulated under the influence of star formation, dynamo action, stretching by differential rotation of the disk, and turbulent diffusion. The evolution of the regular magnetic field in a disk of a spiral galaxy, as well as the expected total intensity, linear polarization and Faraday rotation are simulated in the rest frame of a galaxy at 5GHz and 150 MHz and in the rest frame of the observer at 150 MHz. We present the corresponding maps for several epochs after disk formation. Dynamo theory predicts the generation of large-scale coherent field patterns (“modes”). The timescale of this process is comparable to that of the galaxy age. Many galaxies are expected not to host fully coherent fields at the present epoch, especially those which suffered from major mergers or interactions with other galaxies. A comparison of our predictions with existing observations of spiral galaxies is given and discussed (© 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
    Astronomische Nachrichten 05/2011; 332(5):524 - 536. · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aims. We use a sample of 83 core-dominated active galactic nuclei (AGN) selected from the MOJAVE (Monitoring of Jets in AGN with VLBA Experiments) radio-flux-limited sample and detected with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) to study the relations between non-simultaneous radio, optical, and gamma-ray measurements. Methods. We perform a multi-band statistical analysis to investigate the relations between the emissions in different bands and reproduce these relations by modeling of the spectral energy distributions of blazars. Results. There is a significant correlation between the gamma-ray luminosity and the optical nuclear and radio (15 GHz) luminosities of blazars. We report a well defined positive correlation between the gamma-ray luminosity and the radio-optical loudness for quasars and BL Lacertae type objects (BL Lacs). A strong positive correlation is found between the radio luminosity and the gamma-ray-optical loudness for quasars, while a negative correlation between the optical luminosity and the gamma-ray-radio loudness is present for BL Lacs. Modeling of these correlations with a simple leptonic jet model for blazars indicates that variations of the accretion disk luminosity (and hence the jet power) is able to reproduce the trends observed in most of the correlations. To reproduce all observed correlations, variations of several parameters, such as the accretion power, jet viewing angle, Lorentz factor, and magnetic field of the jet, are required.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 04/2011; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study the relation between the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) radio emission at 15 GHz and the optical nuclear emission at 5100 A for a sample of 233 core-dominated AGN with relativistic jets. For 181 quasars, there is a significant positive correlation between optical nuclear emission and total radio (VLBA) emission of unresolved cores (on milliarcsecond scales) of the jet at 15 GHz. Optical continuum emission correlates with radio emission of the jet for 31 BL Lacs. These correlations confirm that the radio and optical emission are beamed and originate at sub-parsec scales in the innermost part of the jet in quasars, while they are generated in the parsec-scale jet in BL Lacs. These results are in agreement with that reported earlier by Arshakian et al. 2010 for a sample of 135 AGN.
    04/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Recent FERMI observations provide a lower limit of 10^{-15} G for the magnetic field strength in the intergalactic medium (IGM). This is consistent with theoretical expectations based on the Biermann battery effect, which predicts such IGM fields already at redshifts z~10. During gravitational collapse, such magnetic fields can be amplified by compression and by turbulence, giving rise to the small-scale dynamo. On scales below the Jeans length, the eddy turnover timescale is much shorter than the free-fall timescale, so that saturation can be reached during collapse. This scenario has been tested and confirmed with magneto-hydrodynamical simulations following the collapse of a turbulent, weakly magnetized cloud. Based on a spectral analysis, we confirm that turbulence is injected on the Jeans scale. For the power spectrum of the magnetic field, we obtain the Kazantsev slope which is characteristic for the small-scale dynamo. A calculation of the critical length scales for ambipolar diffusion and Ohmic dissipation shows that these scales are always small enough to allow significant amplification of the magnetic field by small-scale eddies. We discuss potential implications for the protostellar accretion disk, with particular focus on the magneto-rotational instability, which may change the morphology of the disk and reduce the accretion rate by a factor of a few.
    02/2011;
  • Tigran G. Arshakian, Rainer Beck
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    ABSTRACT: Aims. Polarized radio synchrotron emission from interstellar, intracluster and intergalactic magnetic fields is affected by wavelength-dependent Faraday depolarization. The maximum polarized intensity depends on the physical properties of the depolarizing medium. New-generation radio telescopes like LOFAR, SKA and its precursors need a wide range of frequencies to cover the full range of objects. Methods. The optimum wavelength of maximum polarized intensity (PI) is computed for the cases of depolarization in magneto-ionic media including regular magnetic fields (differential Faraday rotation) or turbulent magnetic fields (internal or external Faraday dispersion). Results. Polarized emission from bright galaxy disks, spiral arms and cores of galaxy clusters are best observed at centimeter wavelengths, halos of galaxies and clusters at decimeter wavelengths. Intergalactic filaments need observations at meter wavelengths. Measurement of the PI spectrum allows us to derive the average Faraday rotation measure |RM| or its dispersion, without knowledge of polarization angles, if the medium has a simple structure. Periodic fluctuations in PI at low frequencies are a signature of differential Faraday rotation. Internal and external Faraday dispersion can be distinguished by the different slopes of the PI spectrum at low frequencies.
    01/2011;

Publication Stats

171 Citations
95.33 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013–2014
    • University of Cologne
      • I. Institute of Physics
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2006–2012
    • Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2000–2011
    • Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory
      Kaznafar, Aragatsotn, Armenia