ALMA polarimetry measures magnetically aligned dust grains in the torus of NGC 1068

ALMA polarimetry measures magnetically aligned dust grains in the torus of NGC 1068

Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez    Almudena Alonso-Herrero    Santiago García-Burillo    Michael S. Gordon    Kohei Ichikawa    Masatoshi Imanishi    Seiji Kameno    Nancy A. Levenson    Robert Nikutta    Chris Packham
Abstract

The obscuring structure surrounding active galactic nuclei (AGN) can be explained as a dust and gas flow cycle that fundamentally connects the AGN with their host galaxies. Although this structure is usually associated with dusty winds driven by radiation pressure, almost all models for the accretion onto a supermassive blackhole and outflows invoke magnetic fields, which are poorly understood. We have detected the polarization of the torus of NGC 1068 using ALMA Cycle 4 high-angular resolution (, pc) polarimetric dust continuum observations at Band 7 (348.5 GHz, m). We measure an asymmetric variation of the degree of polarization across the torus equatorial axis with a peak polarization of % and position angle of (E-vector) at pc east from the core. We compute synthetic polarimetric observations of magnetically aligned dust grains assuming a toroidal magnetic field and homogeneous grain alignment. We conclude that the measured 860 m continuum polarization arises from magnetically aligned dust grains in an optically thin region of the torus within the central 16 pc region. We explain the asymmetric degree of polarization across the equatorial axis of the torus due to 1) an inhomogeneous optical depth, and 2) a variation of the velocity dispersion, i.e. variation of the magnetic field turbulence at sub-pc scales, from the eastern to the western part of the torus. These observations constrain the torus properties beyond spectral energy distribution results. Our data and modeling lend strong support for the presence of magnetic fields up to a few pc that can contribute to the support of the torus.

techniques: polarimetric - galaxies: individual (NGC 1068) - galaxies: magnetic fields - galaxies: Seyfert - galaxies: active - submillimeter: galaxies
Corresponding author: Lopez-Rodriguez, E.enrique.lopez-rodriguez@nasa.gov\move@AU\move@AF\@affiliation

SOFIA Science Center, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA

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Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), ESAC Campus, E-28692 Villanueva de la Canada, Madrid, Spain

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Observatorio Astronómico Nacional (OAN-IGN)-Observatorio de Madrid, Alfonso XII, 3, 28014, Madrid, Spain

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SOFIA Science Center, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA

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Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan \move@AU\move@AF\@affiliationAstronomical Institute, Tohoku University, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8578, Japan

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National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan

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National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan \move@AU\move@AF\@affiliationNobeyama Radio Observatory, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan 462-2 Nobeyama, Minamisaku, Nagano 384-1305, Japan

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Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

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1National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 N Cherry Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

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The University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA

1 Introduction

The interface between the active galactic nuclei (AGN) and their host galaxies is a region of a few pc in size with a gas and dust flow cycle, a so-called torus (e.g. Krolik & Begelman, 1988; Schartmann, Krause & Burkert, 2011; Dorodnitsyn, Bisnovatyi-Kogan & Kallman, 2011; Wada, 2012). The torus and accretion disk fuel the accretion onto the supermassive black hole (SMBH) and launch outflows, which fundamentally connect the black holes to their host galaxies. This region is particularly interesting for several reasons: 1) from infrared (IR) to X-ray, aside from synchrotron emission, the total flux spectral energy distributions (SEDs) are virtually identical (e.g. Mullaney et al., 2011; Hickox & Alexander, 2018), and 2) advected magnetic fields are strongly implicated in almost all models for the launching and collimations of jets, accretion onto the SMBH, and outflows (e.g. Blandford & Znajek, 1977; Blandford & Payne, 1982; Ghisellini et al., 2014). The magnetic fields allow for the transport of angular momentum in the disk from sub-pc scales to the black hole as well as the formation of jets. Although the torus represents a section of the AGN accretion flow on pc scales, the role of magnetic fields in this pc-scale accretion flow is poorly understood.

The torus and its potential influence with the magnetic field of the AGN and accretion activity can be investigated using its polarization signature. Dust grains can be aligned by the presence of magnetic fields described by theories of radiative torques (RATs Hoang & Lazarian, 2009) and also by intense radiation fields or outflowing media. As radiation propagates through these aligned elongated dust grains, preferential extinction of radiation along one plane leads to a measurable polarization in the transmission of this radiation, a term called dichroic absorption. The short axis of the dust grains aligns with the local magnetic field, and the observed position angle (PA) of the polarization traces the direction of the magnetic field. An observed PA of polarization perpendicular to the magnetic field is expected for polarization in emission. However, optical depth effects, turbulent media, and spatial resolution of the observations make the interpretation of magnetically aligned dust grains very complex. Polarization studies where optically thin dust emission dominates, in conjunction with high-angular resolution observations, provide an excellent tool to characterize the potential influence of magnetic fields in the torus.

With more than 52 years of polarimetric observations at all wavelengths and spatial resolutions (Marin, 2018), NGC 1068 (D = 14.4 Mpc Bland-Hawthorn et al., 1997, and = pc, adopting = 73 km s Mpc) is the most studied AGN. From ultraviolet (UV) to optical wavelengths, the polarized core is dominated by dust scattering around the AGN (Miller & Antonucci, 1983; Antonucci, Hurt & Miller, 1994). At near-IR (NIR), the polarization arises from dichroic absorption by aligned dust grains within a (18 pc) unresolved core (Bailey et al., 1988; Young et al., 1995; Packham et al., 1997; Simpson et al., 2002; Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2015; Gratadour et al., 2015). At mid-IR (MIR), the (18 pc) unresolved core is measured to be unpolarized, which is attributed to self-absorbed polarized dust emission by aligned dust grains within the torus (Packham et al., 2007; Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2016). Although these studies suggest the presence of aligned dust grains in the torus, the core remains unresolved at these wavelengths and only the integrated signature of the torus is studied. ALMA is currently the only facility that can resolve the torus in dust continuum emission (García-Burillo et al., 2016; Imanishi, Nakanishi & Izumi, 2016; Imanishi et al., 2018). At sub-mm wavelengths, the dust is optically thin, thus the bulk of dust emission and the whole disk is well sampled. In general, sub-mm polarimetry will reveal a clearer picture of the presence of large-scale magnetic fields in the torus than at shorter wavelengths.

We present high-angular resolution (, 4.2 pc) polarimetric observations at Band 7 ( GHz, m) of continuum emission of the nucleus of NGC 1068. Thanks to the angular resolution, sensitivity, and polarimetric mode, we are able to resolve the torus and study in detail the polarization signature by magnetically aligned dust grains. The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 describes the observations and data reduction. Observational results are shown in Section 3. Section 4 presents our magnetic field model of the torus, which is then analyzed and discussed in Section 5. In Section 6, we present the conclusions.

2 Observations and data Reduction

We performed (ID: 2016.1.00176.S, PI: Lopez-Rodriguez) Cycle 4 ALMA band 7 (348.5 GHz, 4.78 GHz bandwidth) observations of NGC 1068 using the full polarization mode centered at 02h42m40.80s, -000047.8 ICRS. Our observations were performed using the C40-7 nominal configuration, which provided an angular resolution of with a position angle of 75.13 and execution time of 550.2 minutes on 20170824/25. The largest recoverable scale in the data is approximately , which is larger than the expected extension (i.e. diameter) of the torus estimated to be pc ( 008) (Imanishi et al., 2018). Our observations comprise 8.0 GHz of wide-band dust continuum ranging in the GHz centered at 348.5 GHz (860 m). The flux and bandpass calibrator was J0006-0623, and phase calibrator was J0239-0234; these calibrators were chosen automatically by querying the ALMA source catalog when the project was executed. The polarization calibrator, J0006-0623, was chosen because of its high and stable polarization fraction over a period of a few months prior to these observations. ALMA’s flux calibration is %, as determined by their flux monitoring program. The uncertainties estimated in this work are all statistically based on aperture photometry on the area of interest in the object.

The dust continuum and polarization images were estimated using the Common Astronomy Software Applications (casa, McMullin et al., 2007) with the task tclean with a natural weighting parameter. The rms noise level of the final Stokes I is Jy beam, where the rms noise level of the polarized flux is Jy beam. The difference in rms noise levels is due to the lower limit in the dynamic-range of the total intensity when compared to the polarized intensity. Then, the degree and position angle of polarization were estimated as , . The degree of polarization was corrected by bias. ALMA provides a systematic uncertainty in linear polarization of 0.03%, which corresponds to a minimum detectible polarization of 0.1%.

3 Results

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Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefa) Total flux (color scale) image at 348.5 GHz (860 m) of the central arcsec ( pc) region. Contours start at with Jy beam and increase as , where b) Polarized flux (color scale) with overlaid polarization vectors (black) of the central arcsec ( pc) region. Total flux (white contours) as a). Polarized flux contours start at with Jy beam and increase in steps of . c) Same as b) but within the central arcsec ( pc) region of NGC 1068. The beam (red) is shown in the lower-left of each figure, and a legend of a 5% polarization vector is shown in the upper-right.

Figure 3-a shows the total flux image (continuum map) of NGC 1068 at 348.5 GHz (860 m) within the central arcsec ( pc). Figure 3-b shows the polarized flux with overlaid polarization vectors in a arcsec ( pc) and total flux contours as in Fig. 3-a. A zoom-in of Figure 3-b within the central arcsec ( pc) region is shown in Fig. 3-c. Each polarization vector shows the E-vector with a statistically independent measurement of . The length of the vectors displays the polarization degree with a reference 5% polarization vector shown in each figure.

In the total flux image, we find an unresolved nucleus with additional extended emission along the N-S direction co-spatial with the jet direction, as well as along the East and South-West co-spatial with the circumnuclear disk (CND). These structures are consistent with previous findings by Imanishi, Nakanishi & Izumi (2016); Imanishi et al. (2018) using Band 6 ALMA. We here present the results of the continuum and line emission of the torus, , and the extended, , polarized emission.

3.1 The Total and Polarized Flux of the Torus

The unresolved (007, 5 pc) core is unpolarized at ALMA Band 7 (348.5 GHz, 860 m) as shown in Fig. 3-c. However, we have found the trace of a polarized component at (8 pc) along a PA of EofN. We performed measurements of the total and polarized flux, and degree of polarization within a pc along a PA of region centered at the core of NGC 1068. This region minimizes any potential contamination arising from the polarization of the jet in the northern and southern regions of the core, which maximizes the polarization signature of the torus (Figure 3.1-a). We co-added the Stokes IQU at each location along the equatorial axis within bins of mas mas. Then, the degree of polarization and polarized flux were estimated. Fig. 3.1-b) shows the measurements of the total flux, polarized flux, and degree of polarization along a PA of (i.e. extension of the torus). We find that the polarized flux and the degree of polarization show a core consistent with null polarization, and then polarization increases as a function of the distance from the core along the equatorial plane. Specifically, we find a statistically significant polarized peak emission at ( pc) East along the PA of direction from the core of NGC 1068. At this location, the polarization is measured to be % and PA = . The measured PA of polarization is nearly perpendicular to the equatorial plane of the torus, i.e. .

At Band 7, the non-thermal total flux emission is estimated to contribute % within a 1-aperture (García-Burillo et al., 2014). In polarized flux, Gallimore, Baum & O’Dea (2004) found an unpolarized core at 5GHz for the non-thermal contribution. Given the high-angular resolution of our observations, we are able to disentangle the torus and jet in polarized emission, while we estimated that the total flux of the jet can contribute as much as % within a .

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Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefa) Same as Fig. 3-c with the rectangular box showing the region used for the polarimetric analysis of the nucleus. b) Total (blue squares) and polarized (orange stars) fluxes, and polarization degree (black circles) along a PA of within the box shown in a). That is, the approximate size of the torus. c) Physical interpretation of the polarization mechanisms in the central ( parsec) of NGC 1068.

3.2 The CN Emission Line of the Torus

We identified an emission line in our observations. Figure 3.2 shows the emission line within the ( pc) region identified as CN N=3-2. We resolve the double line fine structure identified as CN N=3-2 J=7/2-5/2 and CN N=3-2 J=5/2-3/2. The integrated intensity (moment 0) of both lines is also shown in this figure with the location of the position of the SMBH (black cross) and the polarized region (black circle) shown in Section 3.1. We fit the emission lines with two 1D Gaussian profiles. The J=7/2-5/2 component has a peak flux of mJy, full width at half maximum (FWHM) of km s, and total flux of mJy centered at km s. The J=5/2-3/2 component has a peak flux of mJy, FWHM of km s, and total flux of mJy centered at km s. We estimate that % of the J=7/2-5/2 component contributes to the J=5/2-3/2 component, and % of the J=5/2-3/2 component contributes to the J=7/2-5/2 component. A further detailed analysis of each line to obtain the velocity fields, i.e. moments 1 and 2, is difficult due to the blend of the fine structure of this double line. This emission line is also detected in the CND at scales of hundreds of pc by Nakajima et al. (2015); however these authors were not able to resolve the fine structure of this line due to the lower resolution of their observations.

The integrated intensity profile is concentrated along the west-east direction with an elongation of ( pc) at a PA of . The peak of the integrated intensity is slightly shifted to the West, and there is more elongation towards the eastern than the western part. This result shows similar physical conditions than the HCN J=3-2 and HCO J =3-2 lines (Imanishi et al., 2018). These lines show a highly inhomogeneous torus along the equatorial axis with low velocity dispersion in the eastern part of the torus, while large velocity dispersion and strong emission are found in the western region of the torus. García-Burillo et al. (2016) found that the less dense molecular structure is lopsided, which is found to be co-spatial with our polarized region in the eastern part. We find that our observed polarization region at 8 pc East from the core is co-spatial with 1) a low velocity dispersion region, and 2) a less dense molecular structure in the outermost eastern region of the molecular torus.

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Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefLeft: Flux profile for the double line CN N=3-2 across the central ( pc) region at a PA . Best fit model to the flux profile using two Gaussians. Right: Integrated intensity (moment 0) of NGC 1068 of the combined double CN N=3-2 lines. Contours start at and increase in steps of , where Jy beam km s. The mass-accreting SMBH position is indicated by a black cross, and the eastern location of the polarized region is indicated by a circle.

3.3 The Total and Polarized Flux of the Extended Emission

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Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefLeft: 860 m polarized flux (color scale) and polarization vectors (black vectors) with the overlaid radio jet emission (gray color scale) at 5 GHz (Gallimore, Baum & O’Dea, 2004). Total flux contours (white contours) as in Fig. 3 are shown. Each radio source is labeled and marked with an orange cross. Right: Degree of polarization (color contours) at 8.7 (Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2016) with the overlaid 860 m polarized flux (white contours) and polarization vectors (black vectors). Degree of polarization contours in steps of 1% are shown. The North Knot shows the jet-molecular cloud interaction. The mass-accreting SMBH position is indicated by a black cross. The beam size of at 8.7 m of CanariCam is shown (red circle). For both figures, a legend of a 5% polarization vector is shown.

In polarized flux, we find resolved polarized emission structures along the N-S direction (Fig. 3-b) within the central sqarcsec ( pc). We measure polarization levels from % to % with the E-vectors of the PA of polarization to be mostly in the N-S direction. We overlaid (Fig. 3.3) the 860 m polarized flux and polarization vectors with the radio jet at 5 GHz observed with MERLIN (Gallimore, Baum & O’Dea, 2004), and with the polarization degree at 8.7 m observed with CanariCam on the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias (Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2016). The polarization degree and polarized flux at 8.7 m show a similar morphology (fig. 2 and 3 of Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2016). We find that the 860 m polarized extended emission regions are spatially anti-correlated with the location of the radio knots, i.e. NE, C, and S2, of the radio jet at 5 GHz, and located at the boundaries of the eastern region of the MIR polarized extended emission identified as the ‘North Knot’. The North Knot is the region at ( pc) North from the core of NGC 1068, where the jet changes direction from N-S to East of North due to the interaction with a giant molecular cloud. At the center of the North Knot, we find a highly polarized, %, region which is at a similar level as the measured polarization, %, at 8.7 m. However, the PA of polarization at 860 m differs from the PA of polarization at 8.7 m, i.e. . Section 5.5 discusses the origin of the sub-mm polarization of these regions.

4 Magnetic field model

As mentioned in the introduction, the m polarimetric observations of NGC 1068 suggest that the polarization arises from magnetically aligned dust grains from the dusty torus. However, effects of extinction by the torus itself produce a null net polarization due to self-absorption dichroic emission in the MIR (Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2016). At sub-mm wavelengths most of the dust is optically thin, which allows us to observe the bulk of emission of the dust grains in the torus, and at high angular resolution, polarization emission can be studied in detail. We here develop a magnetic field model to study the measured polarization region of the torus and put constraints in the torus and magnetic field morphology.

4.1 Model definition

A lot of effort has been put into successfully applied approaches (e.g. Lee & Draine, 1985; Fiege & Pudritz, 2000; Planck Collaboration XX, 2015b; Chen, King & Li, 2016; King et al., 2018) that have computed the synthetic observations of the polarization emission in magneto-hydrodynamical (MHD) simulations. We here follow these standard approaches to estimate the expected polarization of the torus at m by dust emission of magnetically aligned dust grains. We can express the Stokes parameters in terms of the local magnetic field for optically thin, , dust by the form

(1)
(2)
(3)

(King et al., 2018), where and define the plane of the sky, is parallel to our line of sight (LOS), and is the column density. We here define the quantity, , as:

(4)

, thus Stokes I can be defined as

(5)

where the term is a corrective factor that accounts for the decrease of emission by dust grains at a given inclination with respect to the plane of the sky (Fiege & Pudritz, 2000). This parameter provides a quantification of the level of dust grain alignment. For all grains aligned in the line of sight , while for all grains aligned in the plane of the sky . In general, represents a small correction to the Stokes I and of similar order than the dimensionless factor . Thus, Stokes I (Eq. 5) is approximately the column density of the object. relates the grain cross sections and grains alignment properties, and it can be approximated as the maximum polarization by dust emission at the given wavelength. In sub-mm, the polarization by dichroic emission is not greater than 10%, thus we adopt a (Fiege & Pudritz, 2000).

The polarization fraction, , and the polarization angle in the plane of the sky, , are given by

(6)
(7)

The overall magnetic field of the torus is currently unknown. We here rely on magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) simulations to assume the overall structure of the magnetic field in the torus. Recent MHD simulations by Dorodnitsyn & Kallman (2017) have shown that although an initial poloidal field is assumed in the torus, this poloidal field quickly and efficiently generates a toroidal field to maintain a long-lived torus due to differential rotation. More complex magnetic field configurations can also be assumed (e.g. Aitken et al., 2002), but here we will minimize the number of variables by assuming a toroidal structure to estimate the general behavior of the polarization as a function of the radius and optical depth. The toroidal configuration also presents a straightforward interpretation in terms of emission and absorption across the torus. For the magnetic field configuration of the torus, we assume a toroidal magnetic field in cartesian coordinates by the form

(8)
(9)
(10)

where is the magnetic field as a function of the radial distance to the center, and is the azimuthal angle. When this magnetic field configuration is viewed at an inclination, , and tilt angle, , projected on the plane of the sky, the magnetic field at the observer’s frame is given by

(12)
(13)
(14)

where () are the major axis, minor axis, and the LOS, respectively. Face-on view corresponds to = 0 and edge-on to = 90 . We assume a magnetic field distribution with a constant strength as a function of the radial distance to the center, (Section 5.3).

4.2 Synthetic observations

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Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefStokes I (first column), Q (second column), U (third column) and polarized flux (fourth column) for the polarization model of the torus at full resolution, mas (first row), and at the resolution and pixel size of mas of our ALMA observations of NGC 1068 (second row).

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Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefModeled E-vectors (first panel) and B-vectors (second panel) of the polarization model of the torus at the resolution of our ALMA observations. The length of E-vectors shows the degree of polarization and their orientation show the PA of polarization. Length of E-vectors have been normalized and rotated by 90 to show the orientation of the magnetic field. The blue circle shows the western part of the torus with observed polarized flux. Third panel: Profiles of Stokes I (blue squares), degree (black circles), and polarized flux (orange stars) along a PA of are shown for direct comparison with Fig. 3.1.

To compute the column density of the torus per LOS, we use the surface brightness and cloud distribution computed by the radiative transfer code clumpy torus (Nenkova et al., 2008). Specifically, we use the HyperCubes of AGN Tori (hypercat333clumpy torus images can be found at https://www.clumpy.org/pages/images.html, R. Nikutta et al. in preparation). hypercat uses the clumpy torus models with any combination of torus model parameters to generate physically scaled and flux-calibrated 2D images of the dust emission and distribution for a given AGN. We use a distance of Mpc, and a torus tilt angle on the plane of the sky of East of North based on the molecular torus morphology of our integrated flux of the CN line, the total flux continuum at Band 6 by García-Burillo et al. (2016), and the molecular torus morphology observed at HCN J=3-2, HCO = 3-2 by Imanishi et al. (2018). To compute the 2D images of the dust continuum emission, we took the inferred torus parameters using the SED of NGC 1068 by Lopez-Rodriguez et al. (2018): angular width, , radial thickness, , number of clouds along the equatorial plane, , index of the radial density profile, , optical depth of each cloud at V-band, , and inclination angle, . These authors estimated a torus diameter of pc () with a height of pc (), which is compatible with the sizes of the molecular torus shown in Fig. 3.2 and by García-Burillo et al. (2016); Imanishi et al. (2018). We use the cloud distribution, i.e. number of clouds per LOS, multiplied by the optical depth at m, as a proxy of the column density, . We convert the optical depth per cloud from V-band, , to m by using the synthetic extinction curve444Synthetic extinction curve can be found at https://www.astro.princeton.edu/~draine/dust/dustmix.html for computed by Weingartner & Draine (2001).

Using equations 1-3, a toroidal magnetic field configuration inclined at and tilted at , and the 2D images of the continuum dust emission using the inferred torus parameters of Lopez-Rodriguez et al. (2018), we compute the Stokes IQU at a full resolution of mas (Figure 4.2). The polarized flux is estimated as a multiplication of the Stokes I and the degree of polarization, . To obtain the synthetic observations at the spatial resolution and instrumental configuration of the ALMA observations, we use the Stokes IQU at full resolution and convolved with the observed beam, mas ( pc) and PA , and pixelated to 12.5 mas pixel. We obtain the synthetic Stokes IQU observations using CASA v5.4555CASA v5.4 can be found at https://casa.nrao.edu/casadocs/casa-5.4.0, which computes the synthetic beam for the antenna configuration at the day of observations, takes into account the total integration time and convolves it with the Stokes IQU at full resolution. Then, the final images are pixelated to the pixel scale, 12.5 mas pixel, of the ALMA observations to obtain the synthetic Stokes IQU (Figure 4.2). Finally, we compute the degree and PA of polarization and polarized flux. The polarization vectors (E-vectors) and magnetic field pattern (B-vectors) inferred from the synthetic Stokes IQU images are shown in Figure 4.2. The length of E-vectors shows the degree of polarization and their orientation shows the PA of polarization. In polarized dust emission, the measured E-vector is perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic field. We derive the B-vector map by rotating the E-vectors by . Following the approach as in our ALMA observations (Section 3.1), we compute the profiles of the Stokes I, degree and polarized flux as a function of the radius at a PA of using the synthetic observations (Figure 4.2).

4.3 Results of the magnetic field model

We find that a toroidal magnetic field with an inclination of , tilted at EofN, and the cloud distribution of the torus inferred by the nuclear SED (Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2018) are able to explain the general polarization behavior of the 860 m polarimetric observations across the equatorial plane of the torus within the central ( pc) of NGC 1068. By default our polarimetric model is axisymmetric, thus the measured asymmetry across the equatorial plane is not explained by our model. This asymmetry is explained due to variations of a turbulent magnetic field in Section 5.2. Fig. 4.2 shows that the measured trend of the polarization across the equatorial plane of the torus can be explained by magnetically aligned dust grains arising from an optically thin layer at the outer edge of the torus.

In full resolution, Stokes I, a proxy of the column density , shows that the equatorial plane and the core contains a thin layer of optically thick dust at 860 m, where only continuum dust emission is observed in the outer parts of the torus. The synthetic observations show an unresolved torus with slightly larger FWHM than the beam of the observations due to the contribution of emission in the equatorial direction. This extended emission is clearly observed in the polarized flux. The core is unpolarized, while the outermost part of the torus along the equatorial plane shows measurable polarized flux. The total flux profile (blue squares in Fig. 4.2) is flatter than the observed (Fig. 3.1-b). We attribute this difference to the contribution of the sub-pc scale jet in the N-S direction. This component is not assumed in our model where both 1) the excess of total flux emission, and 2) the drop of polarization within the beam can be due to the mixed contribution of the polarization from the torus and from the jet. For 2), Gallimore, Baum & O’Dea (2004) measured an unpolarized core from the radio jet at 5GHz, and we estimated a total flux contribution % in the core of NGC 1068 at 860 m. Although a multi-wavelength analysis using higher angular resolution observations can potentially disentangle both the jet and torus components within the mas ( pc), we estimate that the measured polarized flux at pc east from the core at PA is dominated by dust emission of the torus.

4.4 Exploration of torus model parameters

In this section we aim to put further constraints on the torus model geometry by exploring the synthetic polarimetric observations of NGC1068 generated with different parameters of the clumpy torus models of Nenkova et al. (2008). This study provides an independent approach from modeling of the nuclear IR SED and MIR spectroscopy using the same models (e.g. Alonso-Herrero et al., 2011; Ichikawa et al., 2015; Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2018). Using a toroidal magnetic field in all cases, the nominal torus parameters used in Section 4.2 were explored, and the following figures (Appendix A) show the most characteristic synthetic observations of each parameter range.

We find that the inclination, , angular width, , and the index radial density profile, , produce significant changes in the polarization pattern of the synthetic observations. The optical depth of each cloud, , and the number of clouds, , have no implications in the synthetic observations because the torus is mostly optically thin at 860 m.

For the inclination, , the toroidal magnetic field was also inclined for each model as shown in Eq. 12-14. We find that for a torus and a toroidal magnetic field at an inclination , the observed polarization is reproduced with an uncertainty in the PA of polarization . At lower inclinations, the E-vectors deviate from the observed PA of polarization from our observations (Fig. A). Given our polarization detection, the uncertainty in our PA of polarization is . The degree of polarization for low inclinations, i.e. almost face-on views, produces a double dip in the degree of polarization due to the difference of polarization angles as a function of the azimuthal angle. The torus inclination must be close to edge-on, , to reproduce the observations.

For angular widths , high (%) polarization is measured across the whole torus (Fig. A). The height of the torus is compact and most of the dust will be in a thin layer across the equatorial plane. Our observations have enough sensitivity to resolve this configuration, however a torus with does not reproduce the observations. For angular widths , the height of the torus is wide, which produces a low (%) polarization across the whole torus. This configuration produces an unpolarized torus at all points, which does not reproduce the observations. Based on the measured polarization, we find that the torus angular width must be in the range of to reproduce the observations.

For index radial profiles , the torus became very compact with most of the dust concentrated within the central few pc (Fig. A). This configuration produces a highly polarized and unresolved core, which does not reproduce the observations. The torus index radial profiles must be to reproduce the observations.

For radial thickness , the torus size will be pc (), which will be unresolved by our observations as well as incompatible with previous ALMA observations (i.e. García-Burillo et al., 2016; Imanishi et al., 2018). Our observations implied a torus with a radial thickness of , which implies a torus radius pc.

To sum up, we find that to reproduce the 860 m polarimetric observations, the torus 1) is highly inclined, , 2) has intermediate angular widths , 3) has a flatter radial distribution of clouds, , and 4) has a radius pc ().

5 Discussion

5.1 A torus with magnetically aligned dust grains

We conclude that the measured 860 m polarization arises from magnetically aligned dust grains in the torus. Our magnetic field model suggests that a constant toroidal magnetic field distribution inclined at with a size up to pc diameter produces the alignment of the elongated dust grains, and thus the measured polarization. This configuration produces a coherent PA of polarization (E-vectors) along the equatorial plane, which is consistent with our measured PA of polarization in the eastern part of the torus. Our polarization model suggests that the degree of polarization varies as a function of the optical depth, a known behavior of the polarization emission in molecular clouds from Far-IR (FIR) to sub-mm (Hildebrand et al., 1999; Hildebrand & Kirby, 2004). The polarization reaches a minimum at the location of the core where the AGN is highly extinguished, i.e. high optical depths. However, the degree of polarization increases at large radii and heights, i.e. low optical depths. The E-vector polarization map (Fig. 4.2) shows this behavior. Although the expected theoretical polarization at the core is above the minimum detectable polarization by ALMA at Band 7, the effects of (1) optical depth, 2) angular resolution, and 3) contamination of the sub-pc jet make the core unpolarized. Only the outermost regions are less influenced by these effects due to low optical depth (higher polarization), and because the torus becomes spatially resolved.

5.2 A turbulent torus

The magnetic field has both a constant and turbulent component (e.g. Planck Collaboration XIX, 2015a). The effects of the turbulent component can be studied by the variations of the PA of polarization using a structure function (Hildebrand et al., 2009), and the trend of the degree of polarization with the optical depth (Hildebrand et al., 1999). Our observations only detect a significant polarization in the eastern part of the torus, which is not fully explained by only using our magnetic field model.

As mentioned in Section 3.2, CN J=5-2, HCN J=3-2 and HCO J =3-2 lines indicate that the torus is highly inhomogeneous along the equatorial axis. Specifically, low velocity dispersion is found in the eastern part of the torus, while large velocity dispersion and strong emission are found in the western region of the torus (Imanishi et al., 2018). Both observations and theoretical models (Meijerink, Spaans & Israel, 2007) suggest that CN in abundance is found at early stages of molecular cloud evolution, or when the region is irradiated by intense UV and X-ray photons. Under these conditions, CN can be found in several scenarios: 1) in high-temperature conditions, the reaction CN + H HCN + H efficiently converts CN into HCN (Harada, Herbst & Wakelam, 2010), and 2) in regions with high turbulence can efficiently mix ionized/atomic gas and increase the amount of CN. In general, any perturbance in the velocity fields introduces turbulence in the magnetic field. The detection of CN by our observations and the fact that the CN is associated with regions with high turbulence, high density clouds, and intense UV and X-ray radiation, may explain the behavior of the degree of polarization across the equatorial plane. Specifically, the measured gradient of the velocity dispersion along the equatorial plane makes the turbulent component of the magnetic field dominate in those areas with high velocity dispersion. For those regions where the velocity dispersion is low, it may imply a more coherent magnetic field, which can enhance the grain alignment, and a higher measured degree of polarization. The asymmetry in the degree of polarization along the equatorial axis can be explained as an increase in the level of turbulence, i.e. increase of the magnetic field turbulence at sub-pc scales, from the eastern to the western part of the torus.

5.3 The magnetic field strength of the torus

The torus of NGC 1068 has been observed to have a gradient in velocity dispersion along the equatorial plane that may produce a variation of the turbulent magnetic field. To infer the relative contribution of both components, Hildebrand et al. (2009) show that the ratio of turbulent to large-scale components of the magnetic field strength, , is a function of the dispersion of polarization angles on the plane of the sky, , given by

(15)

Based on our 860 m polarimetric observations, we estimate a dispersion of the PA of polarization of ( radians). The turbulent to constant ratio of the magnetic field strength are estimated to be within a ( pc) region of the eastern part of the torus.

The Davis-Chandrasekhar-Fermi method (DCF method hereafter, Davis, 1951; Chandrasekhar & Fermi, 1953) provides an empirical estimation of the plane-of-the-sky magnetic field strength. This method relates the magnetic field strength, , with the dispersion of the polarization angles, , of the constant component of the magnetic field, and the velocity dispersion of the gas, . This method assumes equipartition and a constant component of the magnetic field. A modified version of the DCF method takes into account the characteristic turbulent-to-ordered ratio, which allows us to estimate the strength of the large-scale magnetic field as

(16)

(Hildebrand et al., 2009), which is valid when , and where is the volume mass density in g cm, and is the velocity dispersion in cm s.

The velocity dispersion of the molecular gas at the location of the polarized region in our observations is estimated to be km s and km s using ALMA observations (Imanishi et al., 2018). We here take a median velocity dispersion of km s. Imanishi et al. (2018) estimated a molecular mass of M within a ( pc) yields a median volume mass density of g cm. Based on our 860 m polarimetric observations, we estimate a dispersion of the PA of polarization of ( radians). We estimate a magnetic field strength of mG at 8 pc east from the core along the equatorial plane of the torus. Note that we have used the median volume mass density of the whole torus, while the location of the polarized region of the torus corresponds to the less dense areas of the torus. Thus, we estimate an upper-limit of the large-scale magnetic field strength at pc in the eastern size of the torus.

Our estimate of shows that within the eastern part of the torus at 8 pc from the core there seems to be an ordered region with small turbulent components ( times ). The magnetic field strength at a distance of 0.4 pc of NGC 1068 was estimated to be mG (Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2015) with the estimated to be . To conserve the magnetic field flux and assuming perfect conductivity, the magnetic field strength varies as a function of the radial distance as . Taken the values estimated by Lopez-Rodriguez et al. (2015), we estimate a magnetic field strength at 8 pc of mG, which is in agreement with our measurements. We note that a magnetic field distribution with a variable strength as a function of the radial distance to the center ( in Section 4.1) will be required to study future high-angular resolution polarimetric observations as well as MHD modeling of AGN. These results indicate a higher turbulent magnetic field at closer distances to the core, which the radiative pressure dominates. At larger distances, few pc, the magnetic field is more coherent and play a role in the dynamics of the torus. We conclude that a large-scale magnetic field seems to be present in the torus from 0.4 to 8 pc with a decrease in turbulence along the equatorial plane of the torus.

5.4 Alternative polarization mechanisms

We explore other polarization mechanisms to explain the measured 860 m polarization at the core of NGC 1068. The polarization signature of synchrotron polarization is dominated by a high degree of polarization, and a PA of polarization along the magnetic field direction. Although the measured PA of polarization, , is tentatively parallel to the north-south direction of the jet, the location of the measured polarization, pc east from the core, and the measured degree of polarization, %, rule out this mechanism. Self-scattering by dust has been proposed as a dominant polarization mechanism in protoplanetary disks observed with ALMA (e.g. Yang et al., 2016; Stephens et al., 2017). In Band 7 and for HL Tau (a protoplanetary disk inclined at ), a degree of polarization with a dip and PA of polarization almost perpendicular to the long-axis of the disk are observed. These studies suggest that self-scattering by mm-size dust grains are responsible for the observed polarization. Most of the studies characterizing the dust grains sizes in AGN point to sub-m to m dust grain sizes (i.e. Li, Shi & Li, 2008; Xie, Li & Hao, 2017; Shao, Jian & Li, 2017). Thus, although the measured polarization and its pattern are compatible to our polarimetric observations, the requisite physical conditions of the dust are not present.

5.5 The extended polarized emission

We find highly polarized, up to %, regions along the path of the jet through the host galaxy. We discuss the intrinsic polarization, and its origin for the several knots identified in Section 3.3. The interaction of the radio jet with the molecular cloud at North from the core produces the measured polarization surrounding the radio knot C. Specifically, the extended emission from the core to the knot C, and the North Knot.

An almost uniform PA of polarization along the N-S direction with degree of polarization from 2% to 11% is found from to ( pc) North from the core. The radio jet emission dominates over this area (Fig. 3.3). García-Burillo et al. (in prep.) derived the power-law index (, ) from the 694 GHz- 344.5 GHz continuum emission using ALMA observations over an area of ( pc) centered at knot C. These authors estimated an in the range of to , which is consistent with the at GHz by Gallimore et al. (1996). Although the intrinsic synchrotron polarization is estimated to be close to the theoretical % polarization, the measured polarization from our observations range in the %. This area is co-spatial with intense UV emission (e.g. Kishimoto, 1999) and dust emission at MIR wavelengths (e.g. Tomono et al., 2001; Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2016). There may be selective extinction across this area that decreases the intrinsic polarization by synchrotron emission. The inferred magnetic field morphology of the synchrotron emission is perpendicular to the measured PA of polarization. A helical magnetic field can likely explain the morphology right above the core, while a more complex structure, i.e. bow shock, at the arc-shape area of this knot is required.

The North Knot polarization decreases from % to % in the m wavelength range (Lopez-Rodriguez et al., 2016), while a polarization of % is measured at 860 m. Lopez-Rodriguez et al. (2016) suggested that the 8.7 m polarization at the North Knot arises from dust and gas emission heated by the jet molecular cloud interaction and further extinguished by aligned dust grains in the inner bar at EofN of the host galaxy. At sub-mm wavelengths, the dust in the inner bar is optically thin. Therefore, the measured 860 m polarization of the North Knot is the intrinsic polarization of the heated dust by the interaction of the jet with the molecular cloud. Although the radio jet is interacting with the molecular cloud, the radio jet radiation is negligible at the location of the North Knot (Fig. 3.3). Thus, the measured 860 m polarization of the North Knot arises from polarized emission by aligned dust grains. We cannot distinguish the dust alignment mechanism. If the dust alignment is dominated by magnetic fields, the morphology of the magnetic field will be perpendicular to the measured PA of polarization, i.e. EofN. However, as the radiation pressure of the radio jet and molecular cloud interaction can be significant, dust alignment by radiation pressure can also be dominant. Under this scenario, the expected PA of polarization is parallel to the direction of the radiation pressure. The measured PA of polarization of EofN may indicate that the radiation pressure is almost N-S (similar to the original direction of the jet before it bends).

The NE knot has a spectral index of at GHz (Gallimore et al., 1996), and at 694 GHz- 344.5 GHz (García-Burillo et al. in prep.), which is consistent with synchrotron emission and comparable to the spectral index at the large-scale of the jet (Wilson & Ulvestad, 1987). A polarization of % ( detection) is estimated at 1.3 cm, which has an intrinsic polarization (after correction of dilution by the component C) of % (Gallimore et al., 1996). Our sub-mm polarization resolves both NE and C components, and it is not diluted by the inner-bar, which provides the intrinsic polarization of the NE knot. The measured 860 m polarization is in the range of % with a PA of polarization almost N-S, with a change of the degree of polarization along the western part of the NE knot (where the peak polarization is located). Using a spectral index of , we estimated an optically thin synchrotron emission polarization of %, and a % for optically thick synchrotron emission. The difference in polarization under the optically thin regime and the comparable polarization of the optically thick synchrotron emission indicates a strong depolarization due to Faraday rotation on the NE knot. The difference of the degree and PA of polarization in the western part of the knot may indicate the presence of a shock by the jet with the ISM, and/or a disruption of the knot in the radio jet.

The S2 knot has a flat spectrum with spectral index of , between 5-22 GHz (Gallimore et al., 1996), and at 694 GHz- 344.5 GHz (García-Burillo et al. in prep.). Polarization observations at 1.3 cm measured a polarization of % ( detection), and an inferred intrinsic polarization of % with a PA of polarization almost in the N-S direction (Gallimore et al., 1996). Our 860 m polarimetric observations show a resolved structure with a comparable degree of polarization, %, and PA of polarization in the N-S direction. The measured polarization of the S2 knot can be explained by a compact and self-absorbed synchrotron jet emission.

We conclude that polarization at 1) the North Knot arises from heated dust due to the jet molecular cloud interaction, 2) C arises from a shock of the jet with the boundary of the molecular cloud (where the jet changes direction), and 3) NE and S2 arise from synchrotron emission in a knot of the radio jet.

6 Conclusions

We performed ( pc) resolution ALMA Cycle 4 polarimetric Band 7 ( GHz, m) observations of the nuclear region of NGC 1068. Thanks to the spatial resolution we have spatially resolved the jet emission along the north-south direction and the torus emission along the east-west direction. We also reported the detection of CN N=3-2 line in the central 16 pc, which is morphologically coincident with the molecular torus found at Band 6, HCN 3-2 and HCO 3-2 ALMA observations.

We detected the polarization signature of the torus. We found a variation of the degree of polarization as a function of the equatorial plane with a peak polarization of % and PA of polarization of (E-vector) at pc east from the core. The polarization at the core, peak of total flux intensity at the location of the SMBH, is unpolarized. We attributed the unpolarized core to a combination of the increase of column density in our LOS towards the core, and contamination of the sub-pc scale jet and torus polarized emission within the beam. We computed synthetic polarimetric observations of magnetically aligned dust grains assuming a toroidal magnetic field and homogenous dust grain alignment. Our model allows us to estimate the expected polarization by dust emission in the torus. We concluded that magnetically aligned dust grains produce the polarization. We find that to reproduce the 860 m polarimetric observations, the torus 1) is highly inclined, , 2) has intermediate angular widths , 3) has a relatively flat radial distribution of clouds, , and 4) has a radius pc (). The torus and the magnetic field distribution are inclined at with a size up to pc diameter. These results are consistent with the torus model parameters inferred from the IR SED modeling and shows an independent approach to physically constrain the torus.

The measured asymmetry in the degree of polarization as a function of the radius across the equatorial axis can be explained by gradient of velocity dispersion, ie. variation of the magnetic field turbulence, from the eastern to the western part of the torus. We computed a turbulent-to-ordered ratio of the magnetic field of within a ( pc) region of the eastern part of the torus, with a magnetic field strength estimated to be mG. When compared with m polarimetric observations, mG and , a gradient in the turbulent magnetic field as a function of the radius to the core is found. We concluded that a large-scale magnetic field may be present from to pc with a decrease of the turbulent component along the equatorial plane of the torus.

We have also found highly, up to 11%, polarized regions co-spatial with the interaction between the jet and molecular clouds in the galaxy. We found that polarization at 1) the North Knot (5, 30 pc) arises from heated dust due to the jet molecular cloud interaction, 2) C (5, 30 pc) arises from a shock of the jet with the boundary of the molecular cloud (where the jet changes direction), and 3) sources NE (0, 60 pc) and S2 (15, 9 pc) arise from synchrotron emission in a knot of the radio jet. These observations can be further used for studies of the jet in active galaxies.

Our observations show that the bulk of the total and polarized dust emission in the torus at sub-mm wavelengths is located along the equatorial direction. This result is well explained by dusty tori models in conjunction with a large-scale magnetic field within the central 16 pc of NGC 1068. The analysis presented here can be used in a larger sample of AGN performed at (sub-)pc scales using multi-wavelength total and polarimetric observations. Further dust emission and MHD modeling are required to study the turbulent magnetic fields in the torus.


This paper makes use of the following ALMA data: ADS/JAO.ALMA#2016.1.00176.S. ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), MOST and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. This research was conducted at the SOFIA Science Center, which is operated by the Universities Space Research Association under contract NNA17BF53C with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A.A.-H. and S.G.-B. acknowledge support from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities through grant PGC2018-094671-B-I00, which was party funded by the FEDER program.

Facilities: ALMA Polarimetry (Band 7)

Software: astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al., 2013) CASA (McMullin et al., 2007)

\onecolumngrid

APPENDIX

A Magnetic field model parameter exploration

This section shows the synthetic polarimetric observations produced by the magnetic field model shown in Section 4. We use the same torus model parameters as in Section 4.4, where only one parameter was changed at the time for each figure.

\H@refstepcounter

figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefMagnetic field model for inclinations, , of and . Full resolution and synthetic observations matching our ALMA observations of NGC 1068 are shown as in Fig. 4.2. Polarization pattern of the E-vectors and B-vectors and their total, polarized flux, and degree of polarization as shown in Fig. 4.2. At low () inclination angles, the position angle of polarization of the E-vector does not reproduce the ALMA observations.

\H@refstepcounter

figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefMagnetic field model for angular widths, , of and . Same figures as Fig. A. For , only polarization at the outer edge is observed, which is higher than those observed in this work. For , the profile of polarization across the equatorial plane is deeper than the observations.

\H@refstepcounter

figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefMagnetic field model for an index radial profile, , of . Same figures as Fig. A. For , the torus is very compact and polarization of the core can be detected.

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  • Phrase it like a question
Test
Test description