A VLBI survey of compact broad absorption line quasars with balnicity index BI > 0
Toruń Centre for Astronomy, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics, NCU, Grudziadzka 5, 87-100 Toruń, Poland
Received: 13 March 2015
Accepted: 11 May 2015
Aims. Outflows manifest as broad absorption lines (BALs) in the quasars spectra. Although outflows are one of the most common astrophysical processes in the Universe, the BAL quasars are rare. Radio emission is another tool that can help to understand the phenomenon of BAL quasars. The aim of this paper is to study their orientation and age by very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) imaging and radio-loudness parameter distribution.
Methods. We performed high resolution radio observations of a new sample of ten BAL quasars using both the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and the European VLBI Network (EVN) at 5 GHz. All the selected sources have balnicity indices (BI) more than 0 and radio flux densities less than 80 mJy at 1.4 GHz. They are very compact with linear sizes of the order of a few tens of parsecs and radio luminosities at 1.4 GHz above the FR I-FR II luminosity threshold.
Results. Most of the observed objects have been resolved at 5 GHz showing one-sided, probably core-jet structures, typical for quasars. We discuss in detail their age and orientation based on the radio observations. We then used the largest available sample of BAL quasars to study the relationships between the radio and optical properties in these objects. We found that (1) the strongest absorption (high values of the balnicity index BI) is connected with the lower values of the radio-loudness parameter, log RI< 1.5, and thus probably with large viewing angles; (2) the large span of the BI values in each bin of the radio-loudness parameter indicates that the orientation is only one of the factors influencing the measured absorption; (3) most of the radio-loud BAL quasars are compact, low luminosity objects with a wide range of jet power (although the highest values of BI seem to be associated with the lower values of jet power). In addition, we suggest that the short lifetime postulated for some compact active galactic nuclei could also explain the scarcity of the large-scale radio sources among BAL quasars.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: evolution / quasars: absorption lines
© ESO, 2015