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Radiative Transfer Modeling of Radio-Band Linear Polarization Observations as a Probe of the Physical Conditions in the Jets of γ-Ray Flaring Blazars

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Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1107, USA
2
Aalto Observatory, Metsähovi Radio Observatory, Kylmälä 02540, Finland
3
Department of Radio Science and Engineering, Aalto University, P.O. Box 13000, FI-00076, Aalto, Espoo 02150, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jose L. Gómez, Alan P. Marscher and Svetlana G. Jorstad
Galaxies 2016, 4(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/galaxies4040035
Received: 29 August 2016 / Accepted: 13 September 2016 / Published: 26 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blazars through Sharp Multi-wavelength Eyes)
Since the mid-1980s, the shock-in-jet model has been the preferred paradigm to explain radio-band flaring in blazar jets. We describe our radiative transfer model incorporating relativistically-propagating shocks, and illustrate how the 4.8, 8, and 14.5 GHz linear polarization and total flux density data from the University of Michigan monitoring program, in combination with the model, constrain jet flow conditions and shock attributes. Results from strong Fermi-era flares in 4 blazars with widely-ranging properties are presented. Additionally, to investigate jet evolution on decadal time scales we analyze 3 outbursts in OT 081 spanning nearly 3 decades and find intrinsic changes attributable to flow changes at a common spatial location, or, alternatively, to a change in the jet segment viewed. The model’s success in reproducing these data supports a scenario in which relativistic shocks compress a plasma with an embedded passive, initially-turbulent magnetic field, with additional ordered magnetic field components, one of which may be helical. View Full-Text
Keywords: blazars; shocks; linear polarization; centimeter-band blazars; shocks; linear polarization; centimeter-band
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Aller, M.F.; Hughes, P.A.; Aller, H.D.; Hovatta, T.; Ramakrishnan, V. Radiative Transfer Modeling of Radio-Band Linear Polarization Observations as a Probe of the Physical Conditions in the Jets of γ-Ray Flaring Blazars. Galaxies 2016, 4, 35.

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