Modelling the spectral evolution of classical double radio sources
Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: Dina.Manolakou@mpi-hd.mpg.de
Corresponding author: J. G. Kirk, John.Kirk@mpi-hd.mpg.de
Accepted: 17 May 2002
The spectral evolution of powerful double radio galaxies (FR II's) is thought to be determined by the acceleration of electrons at the termination shock of the jet, their transport through the bright head region into the lobes and the production of the radio emission by synchrotron radiation in the lobes. Models presented to date incorporate some of these processes in prescribing the electron distribution which enters the lobes. We have extended these models to include a description of electron acceleration at the relativistic termination shock and a selection of transport models for the head region. These are coupled to the evolution of the electron spectrum in the lobes under the influence of losses due to adiabatic expansion, by inverse Compton scattering on the cosmic background radiation and by synchrotron radiation. The evolutionary tracks predicted by this model are compared to observation using the power/source-size (P–D ) diagram. We find that the simplest scenario, in which accelerated particles suffer adiabatic losses in the head region which become more severe as the source expands produces P–D -tracks which conflict with observation, because the power is predicted to decline too steeply with increasing size. Agreement with observation can be found by assuming that adiabatic losses are compensated during transport between the termination shock and the lobe by a re-acceleration process distributed throughout the head region.
Key words: acceleration of particles / plasmas / shock waves / galaxies: active / galaxies: high redshift / galaxies: jets
© ESO, 2002