Volume 574, February 2015
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Published online||05 February 2015|
The intra-hour variable quasar J1819+3845: 13-year evolution, jet polarization structure, and interstellar scattering screen properties ⋆
ASTRON, Postbus 2, 7990 AA
2 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
3 ICRAR/Curtin University of Technology, WA 6845 Bentley, Australia
4 ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO)
Received: 9 October 2012
Accepted: 15 November 2013
We examine the long-term evolution of the intra-hour variable quasar, J1819+3845, whose variations have been attributed to interstellar scintillation by extremely local turbulent plasma, located only 1–3 pc from Earth. The variations in this source ceased some time in the period between June 2006 and February 2007. The evolution of the source spectrum and the long-term lightcurve, and the persistent compactness of the source VLBI structure indicate that the cessation of rapid variability was associated with the passage of the scattering material out of the line of sight to the quasar. We present an extensive analysis of the linear polarization variations and their relation to total intensity variations. The proper motion of polarized features in the quasar jet is found to be subluminal. Systematic time delays between Stokes I, Q, and U, in combination with the structure of the source obtained from 8.4 GHz VLBI data confirm the estimate of the screen distance: 1–2 pc, making the screen one of the nearest objects to the solar system. We determine the physical properties of this scattering material. The electron density in the scattering region is extremely high with respect to the warm ionized ISM, with an estimated density of ne ~ 97 l01/3 ΔL 100-1/2 cm -3, where l0 is the outer scale of the turbulence in AU and ΔL = 100 ΔL100 AU is the depth of the scattering region. If this plasma is in pressure balance with the local magnetic field, one expects a ~2 rad m-2 rotation measure (RM) change associated with the passage of this material past the quasar. To that end, we examine the RMs of sources and the diffuse polarized emission in the surrounding region. We place a limit of 10 rad m-2 on the RM change based upon 21 cm polarization observations. The variability of sources near J1819+3845 is examined to deduce limits on the transverse extent of the screen, and we find that no other sources exhibit variations on comparable timescales and that the screen must therefore be either very small (of order 100 AU) or patchy.
Key words: techniques: high angular resolution / quasars: individual: J1819+3845 / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / scattering / galaxies: active / ISM: clouds
The data used to construct the light curves and total intensity image are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (184.108.40.206) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/574/A125
© ESO, 2015
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