EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 420, Number 1, June II 2004
Page(s) 115 - 123
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034165

A&A 420, 115-123 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034165

The magnetic field along the jets of NGC 4258

as deduced from high frequency radio observations
M. Krause and A. Löhr

Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
(Received 6 August 2003 / Accepted 31 January 2004)

We present 2 $\farcs$4 resolution, high sensitivity radio continuum observations of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 4258 in total intensity and linear polarization obtained with the Very Large Array at $\lambda$3.6 cm (8.44 GHz). The radio emission along the northern jet and the center of the galaxy is polarized and allows investigation of the magnetic field. Assuming energy-equipartition between the magnetic field and the relativistic particles and distinguishing between (1) a relativistic electron-proton jet and (2) a relativistic electron-positron jet, we obtain average magnetic field strengths of about (1) 310  $\mu$G and (2) 90  $\mu$G. The rotation measure is determined to range from -400 to -800 rad/m 2 in the northern jet. Correcting the observed E-vectors of polarized intensity for Faraday rotation, the magnetic field along the jet turns out to be orientated mainly along the jet axis. An observed tilt with respect to the jet axis may indicate also a toroidal magnetic field component or a slightly helical magnetic field around the northern jet.

Key words: galaxies: spiral -- galaxies: indvidual: NGC 4258 -- radio continuum: galaxies -- polarization -- galaxies: magnetic field -- galaxies: jets

Offprint request: M. Krause, mkrause@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de

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© ESO 2004

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