skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Faraday rotation from magnesium II absorbers toward polarized background radio sources

Strong singly ionized magnesium (Mg II) absorption lines in quasar spectra typically serve as a proxy for intervening galaxies along the line of sight. Previous studies have found a correlation between the number of these Mg II absorbers and the Faraday rotation measure (RM) at ≈5 GHz. We cross-match a sample of 35,752 optically identified non-intrinsic Mg II absorption systems with 25,649 polarized background radio sources for which we have measurements of both the spectral index and RM at 1.4 GHz. We use the spectral index to split the resulting sample of 599 sources into flat-spectrum and steep-spectrum subsamples. We find that our flat-spectrum sample shows significant (∼3.5σ) evidence for a correlation between Mg II absorption and RM at 1.4 GHz, while our steep-spectrum sample shows no such correlation. We argue that such an effect cannot be explained by either luminosity or other observational effects, by evolution in another confounding variable, by wavelength-dependent polarization structure in an active galactic nucleus, by the Galactic foreground, by cosmological expansion, or by partial coverage models. We conclude that our data are most consistent with intervenors directly contributing to the Faraday rotation along the line of sight, and that the intervening systems must thereforemore » have coherent magnetic fields of substantial strength ( B-bar =1.8±0.4 μG). Nevertheless, the weak nature of the correlation will require future high-resolution and broadband radio observations in order to place it on a much firmer statistical footing.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1]
  1. Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370291
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 795; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; CORRELATIONS; EVOLUTION; EXPANSION; FARADAY EFFECT; GALAXIES; GALAXY NUCLEI; LUMINOSITY; MAGNESIUM IONS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; POLARIZATION; QUASARS; RESOLUTION; SPECTRA; WAVELENGTHS