- What Is the Hidden Depolarization Mechanism in Low-luminosity AGNs?
- Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Volume | Issue number
- 843 | 2
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
Millimeter-wavelength polarimetry of accreting black hole systems can provide a tomographic probe of the accretion flow on a wide range of linear scales. We searched for linear polarization in two low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGNs), M81 and M84, using the Combined Array for Millimeter Astronomy and the Submillimeter Array. We find upper limits of ∼1%–2% averaging over the full bandwidth and with a rotation measure (RM) synthesis technique. These low polarization fractions, along with similarly low values for LLAGNs M87 and 3C 84, suggest that LLAGNs have qualitatively different polarization properties than radio-loud sources and Sgr A*. If the sources are intrinsically polarized and then depolarized by Faraday rotation, then we place lowerlimits on the RM of a few times 107 rad m-2 for the full bandwidth case and ∼109 rad m-2 for the RM synthesis analysis. These limits are inconsistent with or marginally consistent with expected accretion flow properties. Alternatively, the sources may be depolarized by cold electrons within a few Schwarzschild radii from the black hole, as suggested by numerical models.
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