Polarization of synchrotron emission from relativistic reconfinement shocks with ordered magnetic fields
1 University of Colorado, 440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2 Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Centre, Bartycka 18, 00-716 Warsaw, Poland
Received: 5 April 2012
Accepted: 8 June 2012
We calculate the polarization of synchrotron radiation produced at the relativistic reconfinement shocks, taking into account globally ordered magnetic field components, in particular toroidal and helical fields. In these shocks, toroidal fields produce high parallel polarization (electric vectors parallel to the projected jet axis), while chaotic fields generate moderate perpendicular polarization. Helical fields result in a non-axisymmetric distribution of the total and polarized brightness. For a diverging downstream velocity field, the Stokes parameter U does not vanish and the average polarization is neither strictly parallel nor perpendicular. A distance at which the downstream flow is changing from diverging to converging can be easily identified on polarization maps as the turning point at which polarization vectors switch, e.g., from clockwise to counterclockwise.
Key words: galaxies: jets / magnetic fields / polarization / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / relativistic processes / shock waves
© ESO, 2012