Magnetic fields around radio galaxies from Faraday rotation measure analysis

Guidetti, Daria (2011) Magnetic fields around radio galaxies from Faraday rotation measure analysis, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Astronomia, 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3753.
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the strength and structure of the magnetized medium surrounding radio galaxies via observations of the Faraday effect. This study is based on an analysis of the polarization properties of radio galaxies selected to have a range of morphologies (elongated tails, or lobes with small axial ratios) and to be located in a variety of environments (from rich cluster core to small group). The targets include famous objects like M84 and M87. A key aspect of this work is the combination of accurate radio imaging with high-quality X-ray data for the gas surrounding the sources. Although the focus of this thesis is primarily observational, I developed analytical models and performed two- and three-dimensional numerical simulations of magnetic fields. The steps of the thesis are: (a) to analyze new and archival observations of Faraday rotation measure (RM) across radio galaxies and (b) to interpret these and existing RM images using sophisticated two and three-dimensional Monte Carlo simulations. The approach has been to select a few bright, very extended and highly polarized radio galaxies. This is essential to have high signal-to-noise in polarization over large enough areas to allow computation of spatial statistics such as the structure function (and hence the power spectrum) of rotation measure, which requires a large number of independent measurements. New and archival Very Large Array observations of the target sources have been analyzed in combination with high-quality X-ray data from the Chandra, XMM-Newton and ROSAT satellites. The work has been carried out by making use of: 1) Analytical predictions of the RM structure functions to quantify the RM statistics and to constrain the power spectra of the RM and magnetic field. 2) Two-dimensional Monte Carlo simulations to address the effect of an incomplete sampling of RM distribution and so to determine errors for the power spectra. 3) Methods to combine measurements of RM and depolarization in order to constrain the magnetic-field power spectrum on small scales. 4) Three-dimensional models of the group/cluster environments, including different magnetic field power spectra and gas density distributions. This thesis has shown that the magnetized medium surrounding radio galaxies appears more complicated than was apparent from earlier work. Three distinct types of magnetic-field structure are identified: an isotropic component with large-scale fluctuations, plausibly associated with the intergalactic medium not affected by the presence of a radio source; a well-ordered field draped around the front ends of the radio lobes and a field with small-scale fluctuations in rims of compressed gas surrounding the inner lobes, perhaps associated with a mixing layer.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Guidetti, Daria
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze matematiche, fisiche ed astronomiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
12 Aprile 2011

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