AAS 197, January 2001
Session 125. Jets and Variability in AGN and Radio Galaxies
Oral, Thursday, January 11, 2001, 1:30-3:00pm, San Diego

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[125.08] Annual modulation in IDV of quasar 0917+624 due to Interstellar Scintillation

B.J. Rickett (University of California San Diego), A. Witzel, A. Kraus, T.P. Krichbaum (Max Planck Institut fur Radioastronomie)

The quasar 0917+624 has been one of the best studied intraday variable (IDV) radio sources. However, debate continues as to whether the underlying cause is intrinsic or extrinsic. Much previous work has assumed the IDV to be intrinsic and to imply an extraordinarily compact source for the radio emission; in contrast, an extrinsic variation due to interstellar scintillation (ISS) implies a relatively larger source diameter, though at the lower end of the range expected for relativistic jet models.

Kraus et al. (A&A, 352, L107, 1999) reported a marked slowing of the IDV at 6cm wavelength in September 1998, and suggested a change in the source was responsible. However, here we show that the slowing is consistent with the annual modulation in scintillation time-scale expected for ISS, under the assumption that the scatttering medium moves with the local standard of rest (LSR). The ISS time scale is governed by the ISS spatial scale divided by the Earth's velocity relative to the scattering plasma. It happens that in the direction of 0917+624 the transverse velocity of the Earth with respect to the LSR varies widely with a deep minimum in the months of September to November. Hence the slowing of the IDV in September 1998 confirms that ISS, rather than intrinsic variation, is the underlying cause of the IDV.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bjrickett@ucsd.edu

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