Evidence for a toroidal magnetic-field component in 5C 4.114 on kiloparsec scales
1 Department of Physics, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
2 Hamburger Sternwarte, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
Received: 13 August 2015
Accepted: 23 September 2015
Context. A monotonic, statistically significant gradient in the observed Faraday rotation measure (RM) across the jet of an active galactic nucleus (AGN) reflects a corresponding gradient in the electron density and/or line-of-sight magnetic (B) field in the region of Faraday rotation. For this reason, such gradients may indicate the presence of a toroidal B field component, possibly associated with a helical jet B field. Although transverse RM gradients have been reported across a number of parsec-scale AGN jets, the same is not true on kiloparsec scales, suggesting that other (e.g. random) magnetic-field components usually dominate on these larger scales.
Aims. We wished to identify clear candidates for monotonic, transverse RM gradients across AGN jet and lobe structures on scales larger than those probed thus far, and estimate their statistical significances.
Methods. We identified an extended, monotonic transverse Faraday-rotation gradient across the northern lobe of a previously published Very Large Array (kiloparsec-scale) RM image of 5C 4.114. We reanalyzed these VLA data in order to determine the significance of this RM gradient.
Results. The RM gradient across the northern kiloparsec-scale lobe structure of 5C 4.114 has a statistical significance of about 4σ. There is also a somewhat less prominent monotonic transverse Faraday-rotation gradient across the southern jet/lobe (narrower range of distances from the core, significance ≃ 3σ). Other parts of the Faraday-rotation distribution observed across the source are patchy and show no obvious order.
Conclusions. This suggests that we are observing a random RM component associated with the foreground material in the cluster in which the radio source is located and through which it is viewed, superposed on a more ordered RM component that arises in the immediate vicinity of the AGN jets. We interpret the transverse RM gradient as reflecting the systematic variations of the line-of-sight component of a helical or toroidal B field associated with the jets of 5C 4.114. These results suggest that the helical field that arises due to the joint action of the rotation of the central black hole and its accretion disc and the jet outflow can survive to distances of thousands of parsec from the central engine.
Key words: magnetic fields / polarization / galaxies: jets
© ESO, 2015