8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 9 Jets and Blazars
Oral, Wednesday, September 8, 2004, 11:00am-12:30pm

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[9.05] HST Polarimetry of the Nearest X-ray/Optical Jets

E. S. Perlman, C. A. Padgett, M. Georganopoulos (JCA/UMBC), W. B. Sparks (STSci), L. Lara (U. de Granada), J. A. Biretta (STSci), C. P. O'Dea, S. A. Baum (STScI & RIT)

We discuss new HST imaging polarimetry of the nearest X-ray/Optical Jets. Prior to this work, only two jets had been observed with HST polarimetry: those of M87 and 3C 273, with the latter having low signal to noise. These results therefore represent a major advance in our knowledge of the magnetic field configuration in the high-energy regions of jets, and for X-ray synchrotron emitting jets, give us important knowledge of physical conditions in the X-ray emitting regions. The polarization maps show considerable variation in morphology, with some objects showing strong rotations of the magnetic field in knots (e.g., M87, 3C 346) and other objects showing more constant magnetic field direction (e.g., 3C 264, 3C 78). We also see significant differences between optical and radio polarimetry, but these differences vary significantly from object to object. We model these differences as levels of stratification within each jet, with shocks at the locations of X-ray bright knots, where particles are accelerated and the magnetic field is compressed and then allowed to evolve, accounting for shear from the jet's outer, less energetic "sheath."

ESP, CAP and MG acknowledge support from NASA (grant NAG5-9997) and STScI (grants STGO-09142.01-A, STGO-09705.01-A and STGO-09847.01-A) for this work.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.