Faraday rotation measure gradients from a helical magnetic field in 3C 273.
ZAVALA R.T. and TAYLOR G.B.
Abstract (from CDS):
Using high-frequency (12-22 GHz) VLBA observations, we confirm the existence of a Faraday rotation measure gradient of ∼500 rad/m2/mas transverse to the jet axis in the quasar 3C 273. The gradient is seen in two epochs spaced roughly 6 months apart. This stable transverse rotation-measure gradient is expected if a helical magnetic field wraps around the jet. The overall order to the magnetic field in the inner projected 40 pc is consistent with a helical field. However, we find an unexpected increase in fractional polarization along the edges of the source, contrary to expectations. This high fractional polarization rules out internal Faraday rotation but is not readily explained by a helical field. After correcting for the rotation measure, the intrinsic magnetic field direction in the jet of 3C 273 changes from parallel to nearly perpendicular to the projected jet motion at two locations. If a helical magnetic field causes the observed rotation measure gradient, then the synchrotron-emitting electrons must be separate from the helical field region. The presence or absence of transverse rotation-measure gradients in other sources is also discussed.
Galaxies: Active - Galaxies: Jets - Polarization - Galaxies: Quasars: Individual: Alphanumeric: 3C 273 - Radio Continuum: Galaxies