Electron ageing and polarization in tailed radio galaxies
L. Feretti 1,
G. Giovannini 1, 2,
U. Klein 3,
K.-H. Mack 1, 3,
L.G. Sijbring 4 and
G. Zech 3
Received 16 September 1997 / Accepted 20 November 1997
High-frequency observations of the tailed radio galaxies IC 310, NGC 1265, 3C 129, and 3C 465 have been performed with the Effelsberg 100-m telescope. For the radio galaxies IC 310, NGC 1265 and 3C 465, radio data obtained at low frequencies with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope are also available. These new radio data allow us to map the extended structure of the radio galaxies and obtain spectral and polarization information in the outermost regions.
The multi-frequency spectra were used to study the synchrotron ageing of relativistic electrons with increasing distance from the active nucleus. We found that the spectrum in each radio galaxy progressively steepens with distance, and at each location it is steeper at high frequencies. The spectra are fitted by models involving synchrotron energy losses and the critical frequency is obtained at increasing distance from the core. Assuming that the magnetic field is the equipartition value, we obtain the radiating electron lifetimes and consequently their drift velocities. Our results imply the existence of reacceleration processes or bulk motions along the tails.
The polarization data at 10.6 GHz give information on the intrinsic degree of polarized flux and the orientation of the magnetic field. We find that the polarization percentage increases along the tails, reflecting an increase of the degree of ordering of the magnetic field. The magnetic field in the tails is longitudinal.
Key words: galaxies: individual: IC 310; NGC 1265; 3C 129; 3C 465 galaxies: magnetic fields radio continuum: galaxies
Send offprint requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org
© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998
Online publication: February 16, 1998