An X-ray Imaging Survey of Quasar Jets: Testing the Inverse Compton Model

H. L. Marshall*, J. M. Gelbord, D. A. Schwartz, D. W. Murphy, J. E. J. Lovell, D. M. Worrall, M. Birkinshaw, E. S. Perlman, L. Godfrey, D. L. Jauncey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present results from continued Chandra X-ray imaging and spectroscopy of a flux-limited sample of flat spectrum radio-emitting quasars with jet-like extended structure. X-rays are detected from 24 of the 39 jets observed so far. We compute the distribution of alpha(rx), the spectral index between the X-ray and radio bands, showing that it is broad, extending at least from 0.8 to 1.2. While there is a general trend that the radio brightest jets are detected most often, it is clear that predicting the X-ray flux from the radio knot flux densities is risky, so a shallow X-ray survey is the most effective means for finding jets that are X-ray bright. We test the model in which the X-rays result from inverse Compton (IC) scattering of cosmic microwave background (CMB) photons by relativistic electrons in the jet moving with a high bulk Lorentz factor nearly along the line of sight. Depending on how the jet magnetic fields vary with z, the observed X-ray to radio flux ratios do not follow the redshift dependence expected from the IC-CMB model. For a subset of our sample with known superluminal motion based on VLBI observations, we estimate the angle of the kiloparsec-scale jet to the line of sight by considering the additional information in the bends observed between parsec-and kiloparsec-scale jets. These angles are sometimes much smaller than estimates based on the IC-CMB model with a Lorentz factor of 15, indicating that these jets may decelerate significantly from parsec scales to kiloparsec scales.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Volume193
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: jets
  • surveys
  • ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI
  • HUBBLE-SPACE-TELESCOPE
  • HEMISPHERE ICRF SOURCES
  • DOMINATED RADIO-SOURCES
  • LARGE-SCALE JETS
  • VLBI OBSERVATIONS
  • COMPLETE SAMPLE
  • CHANDRA OBSERVATIONS
  • RELATIVISTIC JETS
  • VLA OBSERVATIONS

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