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Galaxies 2016, 4(4), 50; doi:10.3390/galaxies4040050

Through the Looking Glass: Faraday Conversion in Turbulent Blazar Jets

Institute for Astrophysical Research, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Academic Editors: Jose L. Gómez, Alan P. Marscher and Svetlana G. Jorstad
Received: 15 July 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 15 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blazars through Sharp Multi-wavelength Eyes)
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Abstract

Faint levels of circular polarization (Stokes V) have been detected in several relativistic jets. While typically less than a few percent, circular polarization can give us critical insight into the underlying nature of the jet plasma. Circular polarization can be produced through a process known as linear birefringence, in which initially linearly polarized emission produced in one region of the jet is altered by Faraday rotation as it propagates through other regions of the jet with distinct magnetic field orientations. Recently, Marscher has developed the Turbulent Extreme Multi-Zone (TEMZ) model for blazar emission, in which turbulent plasma crossing a standing shock in the jet is represented by a collection of thousands of individual plasma cells, each with distinct magnetic field orientation. In order to test whether the TEMZ model can reproduce circularly polarized radiation at levels comparable to those observed in blazars, I have developed a numerical algorithm to solve the full Stokes equations of polarized radiative transfer. I have embedded this algorithm into the ray-tracing code RADMC3D (http://ascl.net/1202.015). RADMC3D was originally developed to model continuum radiative transfer in dusty media. This code, however, has been written in a modularized fashion that allows the user to specify the physics that is incorporated into the radiative transfer. I have replaced RADMC3D’s thermal emission and absorption coefficients with non-thermal coefficients pertaining to polarized synchrotron emission. This code is applied to ray-tracing through the 3-D TEMZ computational grid. Here I present a suite of synthetic polarized emission maps that highlight the effect that thousands of distinct cells of plasma within a jet can have on the observed linear and circular polarization. View Full-Text
Keywords: galaxies; jets; relativistic processes; polarization galaxies; jets; relativistic processes; polarization
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MacDonald, N.R. Through the Looking Glass: Faraday Conversion in Turbulent Blazar Jets. Galaxies 2016, 4, 50.

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