AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 5. Relativistic Jets and their Interactions
Display, Wednesday, January 6, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall 1

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[5.09] Shock Excitation of Line-Emitting Gas in Radio Galaxies

Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI)

Shocks are an important tracer of interactions that occur between the ambient medium and the expanding radio jets / lobes that are characteristic of radio galaxies. These sources typically display regions of ionized line-emitting gas, often extended on scales up to several tens of kpc. Understanding the physical properties of this gas, in particular its ionization state, dynamical properties and dominant source of energy input, constitutes a principal approach towards understanding the way in which the evolution of radio galaxies is governed by interactions with their environment. I present the results of a program of detailed emission-line imaging and spectrophotometry of radio galaxies, in particular using the spatial distribution of line fluxes, ratios, and gas kinematics to investigate the relative importance of shocks or nuclear photoionization as the dominant ionization mechanism in each source. The observations are compared with results from ionization models using MAPPINGS-II and CLOUDY, as well as hydrodynamic models of interactions between the radio jets / lobes and ambient gas. The implications are discussed in the context of the evolution of radio galaxies, in particular the extent to which this is affected by their environment.

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