Publications by Katherine Blundell


The inverse-Compton ghost HDF 130 and the giant radio galaxy 6C 0905+3955: matching an analytic model for double radio source evolution

ArXiv (0)

P Mocz, AC Fabian, KM Blundell, PT Goodall, SC Chapman, DJ Saikia

We present new GMRT observations of HDF 130, an inverse-Compton (IC) ghost of a giant radio source that is no longer being powered by jets. We compare the properties of HDF 130 with the new and important constraint of the upper limit of the radio flux density at 240 MHz to an analytic model. We learn what values of physical parameters in the model for the dynamics and evolution of the radio luminosity and X-ray luminosity (due to IC scattering of the cosmic microwave background (CMB)) of a Fanaroff-Riley II (FR II) source are able to describe a source with features (lobe length, axial ratio, X-ray luminosity, photon index and upper limit of radio luminosity) similar to the observations. HDF 130 is found to agree with the interpretation that it is an IC ghost of a powerful double-lobed radio source, and we are observing it at least a few Myr after jet activity (which lasted 5--100 Myr) has ceased. The minimum Lorentz factor of injected particles into the lobes from the hotspot is preferred to be $\gamma\sim10^3$ for the model to describe the observed quantities well, assuming that the magnetic energy density, electron energy density, and lobe pressure at time of injection into the lobe are linked by constant factors according to a minimum energy argument, so that the minimum Lorentz factor is constrained by the lobe pressure. We also apply the model to match the features of 6C 0905+3955, a classical double FR II galaxy thought to have a low-energy cutoff of $\gamma\sim10^4$ in the hotspot due to a lack of hotspot inverse-Compton X-ray emission. The models suggest that the low-energy cutoff in the hotspots of 6C 0905+3955 is $\gamma\gtrsim 10^3$, just slightly above the particles required for X-ray emission.


Multiwavelength study of Cygnus A III. Evidence for relic lobe plasma

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KC Steenbrugge, I Heywood, KM Blundell

We study the particle energy distribution in the cocoon surrounding Cygnus A, using radio images between 151 MHz and 15 GHz and a 200 ks Chandra ACIS-I image. We show that the excess low frequency emission in the the lobe further from Earth cannot be explained by absorption or excess adiabatic expansion of the lobe or a combination of both. We show that this excess emission is consistent with emission from a relic counterlobe and a relic counterjet that are being re-energized by compression from the current lobe. We detect hints of a relic hotspot at the end of the relic X-ray jet in the more distant lobe. We do not detect relic emission in the lobe nearer to Earth as expected from light travel-time effects assuming intrinsic symmetry. We determine that the duration of the previous jet activity phase was slightly less than that of the current jet-active phase. Further, we explain some features observed at 5 and 15 GHz as due to the presence of a relic jet.


The extended X-ray emission around HDF130 at z=1.99: an inverse Compton ghost of a giant radio source in the Chandra Deep Field North

ArXiv (0)

AC Fabian, S Chapman, CM Casey, F Bauer, KM Blundell

One of the six extended X-ray sources found in the Chandra DeepField North is centred on HDF130, which has recently been shown to be a massive galaxy at z=1.99 with a compact radio nucleus. The X-ray source has a roughly double-lobed structure with each lobe about 41 arcsec long, or 345 kpc at the redshift of HDF130. We have analyzed the 2 Ms X-ray image and spectrum of the source and find that it is well fit by a power-law continuum of photon index 2.65 and has a 2--10 keV luminosity of 5.4x10^{43}ergps (if at z=1.99). Any further extended emission within a radius of 60 arcsec has a luminosity less than half this value, which is contrary to what is expected from a cluster of galaxies. The source is best explained as an inverse Compton ghost of a giant radio source, which is no longer being powered, and for which Compton losses have downgraded the energetic electrons, \gamma> 10^4, required for high-frequency radio emission. The lower energy electrons, \gamma~1000, produce X-rays by inverse Compton scattering on the Cosmic Microwave Background. Depending on the magnetic field strength, some low frequency radio emission may remain. Further inverse Compton ghosts may exist in the Chandra deep fields.


On the origin of radio core emission in radio-quiet quasars

ArXiv (0)

K Blundell, Z Kuncic

We present a model for the radio emission from radio-quiet quasar nuclei. We show that a thermal origin for the high brightness temperature, flat spectrum point sources (known as radio ``cores'') is possible provided the emitting region is hot and optically-thin. We hence demonstrate that optically-thin bremsstrahlung from a slow, dense disk wind can make a significant contribution to the observed levels of radio core emission. This is a much more satisfactory explanation, particularly for sources where there is no evidence of a jet, than a sequence of self-absorbed synchrotron components which collectively conspire to give a flat spectrum. Furthermore, such core phenomena are already observed directly via milli-arcsecond radio imaging of the Galactic microquasar SS433 and the active galaxy NGC1068. We contend that radio-emitting disk winds must be operating at some level in radio-loud quasars and radio galaxies as well (although in these cases, observations of the radio cores are frequently contaminated/dominated by synchrotron emission from jet knots). This interpretation of radio core emission mandates mass accretion rates that are substantially higher than Eddington. Moreover, acknowledgment of this mass-loss mechanism as an AGN feedback process has important implications for the input of energy and hot gas into the inter-galactic medium (IGM) since it is considerably less directional than that from jets.


Detection of a relic X-ray jet in Cygnus A

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KC Steenbrugge, KM Blundell, P Duffy

We present a 200 ks Chandra ACIS-I image of Cygnus A, and discuss a long linear feature seen in its counterlobe. This feature has a non-thermal spectrum and lies on the line connecting the brighter hotspot on the approaching side and the nucleus. We therefore conclude that this feature is (or was) a jet. However, the outer part of this X-ray jet does not trace the current counterjet observed in radio. No X-ray counterpart is observed on the jet side. Using light-travel time effects we conclude that this X-ray 50 kpc linear feature is a relic jet that contains enough low-energy plasma (gamma ~ 10^3) to inverse-Compton scatter cosmic microwave background photons, producing emission in the X-rays.


Jet evolution, flux ratios and light-travel time effects

ArXiv (0)

JCA Miller-Jones, KM Blundell, P Duffy

Studies of the knotty jets in both quasars and microquasars frequently make use of the ratio of the intensities of corresponding knots on opposite sides of the nucleus in order to infer the product of the intrinsic jet speed (beta) and the cosine of the inclination angle of the jet-axis (cos{theta}), via the formalism I_{a}/I_{r} = ((1+beta cos{theta})/(1-beta cos{theta}))^{3+alpha}, where alpha relates the intensity I_{nu} as a function of frequency nu as I_{nu} propto nu^{-alpha}. Where beta cos{theta} is determined independently, the intensity ratio of a given pair of jet to counter-jet knots is over-predicted by the above formalism compared with the intensity ratio actually measured from radio images. As an example in the case of Cygnus X-3 the original formalism predicts an intensity ratio of about 185, whereas the observed intensity ratio at one single epoch is about 3. Mirabel and Rodriguez (1999) have refined the original formalism, and suggested measuring the intensity ratio of knots when they are at equal angular separations from the nucleus. This method is only applicable where there is sufficient time-sampling with sufficient physical resolution to interpolate the intensities of the knots at equal distances from the nucleus, and can therefore be difficult to apply to microquasars and is impossible to apply to quasars. Accounting for both the light-travel time between the knots and the simple evolution of the knots themselves reconciles this over-prediction and renders the original formalism obsolete.

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