Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 359, 1456-1468 (2005/June-1)
The depolarization properties of powerful extragalactic radio sources as a function of cosmic epoch.
GOODLET J.A. and KAISER C.R.
Abstract (from CDS):
We use the observed polarization properties of a sample of 26 powerful radio galaxies and radio-loud quasars to constrain the conditions in the Faraday screens local to the sources. We adopt the cosmological redshift, low-frequency radio luminosity and physical size of the large-scale radio structures as our `fundamental' parameters. We find no correlation of the radio spectral index with any of the fundamental parameters. The observed rotation measure is also independent of these parameters, suggesting that most of the Faraday rotation occurs in the Galactic foreground. The difference between the rotation measures of the two lobes of an individual source, as well as the dispersion of the rotation measure, shows significant correlations with the source redshift, but not with the radio luminosity or source size. This is evidence that the small-scale structure observed in the rotation measure is caused by a Faraday screen local to the sources. The observed asymmetries between the lobes of our sources show no significant trends with each other or other source properties. Finally, we show that the commonly used model for the depolarization of synchrotron radio emission by foreground Faraday screens is inconsistent with our observations. We apply alternative models to our data and show that they require a strong increase of the dispersion of the rotation measure inside the Faraday screens with cosmological redshift. Correcting our observations with these models for redshift effects, we find a strong correlation of the depolarization measure with redshift and a significantly weaker correlation with radio luminosity. We do not find any (anti-)correlation of depolarization measure with source size. All our results are consistent with a decrease in the order of the magnetic field structure of the Faraday screen local to the sources for increasing cosmological redshift.
magnetic fields - polarization - galaxies: active - galaxies: jets