Exploring the Environs of Compact Symmetric Objects in the \\ Nuclei of Galaxies and Quasars

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Session 20 -- AGN Environments
Display presentation, Monday, 9, 1995, 9:20am - 6:30pm

[20.04] Exploring the Environs of Compact Symmetric Objects in the \\ Nuclei of Galaxies and Quasars

G.B. Taylor, W. Xu, A.C.S. Readhead, and T.J. Pearson (Caltech)

Two large Caltech--Jodrell Bank VLBI surveys at 5 GHz have recently been completed (CJ1 -- Xu et al.~1994, ApJS, submitted; CJ2 -- Taylor et al.~1994, ApJS, in press; Henstock et al.~1994, ApJS, submitted). Together with the Pearson--Readhead survey (1988, ApJ, 328, 114) these provide $\sim$1 mas resolution images for a flux limited sample of 321 sources. One of the most interesting findings of these surveys was the discovery of three confirmed compact symmetric objects (CSOs) and forty additional candidate CSOs. These are compact (size $\sim$100 pc) sources with emission on both sides of the central engine that is thought to be free of beaming effects. To account for their small sizes the CSOs must be either young or severely confined by a dense neutral medium. If these objects are young (ages $\sim$ 3000 yrs) and growing at rates typical of equally luminous, but 1000 times larger, radio galaxies like Cygnus A then they must be a common phase in the evolution of galaxies, or perhaps a recurrent one. Alternatively, if the CSOs are strongly confined and longer lived then the large amount of material required for their confinement should have several observational consequences -- large amounts of neutral and molecular gas, high induced Faraday rotations, and possibly severe reddening and distortions of the starlight from the host galaxy.

In an effort to discriminate between the above models we have performed deep infrared imaging of a number of CSOs and CSO candidates. We also report on high-dynamic range imaging with the VLA to look for large Faraday rotation measures, or for extended components that might be the result of a previous active phase. We have also observed one nearby CSO candidate in CO 1-0 with the Owens Valley millimeter array to search for molecular gas.

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