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Detection of six rapidly scintillating active galactic nuclei and the diminished variability of J1819+3845


Koay, JY and Bignall, HE and Macquart, JP and Jauncey, DL and Rickett, BJ and Lovell, JEJ, Detection of six rapidly scintillating active galactic nuclei and the diminished variability of J1819+3845, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 534 Article L1. ISSN 0004-6361 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 ESO

DOI: doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201117805


The extreme, intra-hour and >10% rms flux density scintillation observed in AGNs such as PKS 0405-385, J1819+3845 and PKS 1257-326 at cm wavelengths has been attributed to scattering in highly turbulent, nearby regions in the interstellar medium. Such behavior has been found to be rare. We searched for rapid scintillators among 128 flat spectrum AGNs and analyzed their properties to determine the origin of such rapid and large amplitude radio scintillation. The sources were observed at the VLA at 4.9 and 8.4 GHz simultaneously at two hour intervals over 11 days. We detected six rapid scintillators with characteristic time-scales of <2 h, none of which have rms variations >10%. We found strong lines of evidence linking rapid scintillation to the presence of nearby scattering regions, estimated to be <12 pc away for ∼200 μas sources and <250 pc away for ∼10 μas sources. We attribute the scarcity of rapid and large amplitude scintillators to the requirement of additional constraints, including large source compact fractions. J1819+3845 was found to display ∼2% rms variations at ∼6 h time-scales superposed on longer >11 day variations, suggesting that the highly turbulent cloud responsible for its extreme scintillation has moved away, with its scintillation now caused by a more distant screen ≈50 to 150 pc away.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:quasars: general; galaxies: active; radio continuum: ISM; scattering; ISM: structure; quasars: individual: J1819+3845
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Galactic astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Lovell, JEJ (Dr Jim Lovell)
ID Code:78308
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2012-06-21
Last Modified:2017-11-03

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