VLBA Polarization Observations of Markarian 421 after a Gamma‐Ray High State

B. Glenn Piner, Philip G. Edwards
2005 Astrophysical Journal  
We present four high dynamic range, dual-circular polarization, Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) observations at 22 GHz of Markarian 421, taken throughout the year following the source's unprecedented gamma-ray high state in early 2001. These four new VLBA observations are combined with data from our earlier 1999 paper and archival VLBA data-sets that have become available since 1999 to produce a combined 28 epoch VLBA data-set on Mrk 421 spanning the years 1994 to 2002. No new component
more » ... w component associated with the 2001 flares was seen on the total intensity images, but the combined data-set allowed precise measurements of the apparent speeds of the existing components. The peak measured apparent speed was for component C5, which has an apparent speed of 0.1 +/- 0.02 c (H_0=71 km s^{-1} Mpc^{-1}, Omega_m=0.27, and Omega_Lambda=0.73). No counterjet is seen with a limit on the jet to counterjet brightness ratio J >~ 100. These observed VLBI properties of Markarian 421 are consistent with a jet with a bulk Lorentz factor of about 2 and an angle to the line-of-sight of about 1 degree, suggesting a jet that decelerates between the gamma-ray producing region and the parsec scale. The VLBI core and inner jet (component C7) have fractional polarizations of about 5%, and an electric vector position angle (EVPA) aligned with the jet axis. Component C5 (at 1.5 mas from the core) has a higher fractional polarization of about 15%, and an EVPA nearly orthogonal to the jet axis. Significant variability is detected in the EVPA of component C6, which at two of the four epochs shows an EVPA aligned with the jet axis, possibly a sign of propagating disturbances that are only visible on the polarization images. If these propagating disturbances are linked to the 2001 gamma-ray high state, then their inferred apparent speed is between 1 and 3 c.
doi:10.1086/428039 fatcat:msh7oaojkfb23kbd4t4hoe2hci