The linear polarization of 3C 345 in the ultraviolet

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astronomy

Scientific paper

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Active Galactic Nuclei, Linear Polarization, Polarized Radiation, Quasars, Thermal Radiation, Ultraviolet Astronomy, Ultraviolet Spectra, Accretion Disks, Astronomical Models, Astronomical Polarimetry, Ultraviolet Spectrophotometers

Scientific paper

The linear polarization of 3C 345, a superluminal radio source and OVV quasar, was observed in two bandpasses in the ultraviolet (centered at 2160 A and 2770 A) in 1993 April using the High Speed Photometer on the Hubble Space Telescope. The quasar is significantly polarized in the UV (p greater than 5%). Ground-based polarimetry was obtained 11 days later, but a difference in the position angle between the observations in the visible and those in the UV indicate that the magnitude of the polarization of 3C 345 may have changed over that time. If the two observation sets represent the same state of spectral polarization, then the large UV flux implies that either the polarization of the synchrotron continuum must stop decreasing in the UV, or that there is an additional source of polarized flux in the ultraviolet. Only if the UV observations represent a spectral polarization state with the same position angle in the visible seen previously in 3C 345 can the polarized flux be represented by a single power law consistent with the three-component model of Smith et al. This model consists of a polarized synchrotron component, an unpolarized component from the broad-line region, and an unpolarized component attributed to thermal radiation from an optically thick accretion disk. Additional simultaneous polarimetry in the UV and visible will be required to further constrain models of the continuum emission processes in 3C 345 and determine if the UV polarized flux is synchrotron in origin.

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