Thursday, June 27, 2013

1306.6208 (C. M. Fromm et al.)

Catching the Radio Flare in CTA 102 III. Core-Shift and Spectral Analysis    [PDF]

C. M. Fromm, E. Ros, M. Perucho, T. Savolainen, P. Mimica, M. Kadler, A. P. Lobanov, J. A. Zensus
The temporal and spatial spectral evolution of the jets of AGN can be studied with multi-frequency, multi-epoch VLBI observations. The combination of both, morphological and spectral parameters can be used to derive source intrinsic physical properties such as the magnetic field and the non-thermal particle density. In the first two papers of this series, we analyzed the single-dish light curves and the VLBI kinematics of the blazar CTA 102 and suggested a shock-shock interaction between a traveling and a standing shock wave as a possible scenario to explain the observed evolution of the component associated to the 2006 flare. In this paper we investigate the core-shift and spectral evolution to test our hypothesis of a shock-shock interaction. We used 8 multi-frequency VLBA observations to analyze the temporal and spatial evolution of the spectral parameters during the flare. We observed CTA 102 between May 2005 and April 2007 using the VLBA at six different frequencies spanning from 2 - 86 GHz. After the calibrated VLBA images were corrected for opacity, we performed a detailed spectral analysis. From the derived values we estimated the magnetic field and the density of the relativistic particles. The detailed analysis of the opacity shift reveals that the position of the jet core is proportional to nu^-1 with some temporal variations. The value suggests possible equipartition between magnetic field energy and particle kinetic energy densities at the most compact regions. From the variation of the physical parameters we deduced that the 2006 flare in CTA 102 is connected to the ejection of a new traveling feature (t=2005.9) and the interaction between this shock wave and a stationary structure around 0.1 mas from the core. The source kinematics together with the spectral and structural variations can be described by helical motions in an over-pressured jet.
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