The presence of interstellar scintillation in the 15 GHz interday variability of 1158 OVRO-monitored blazars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

  • J. Y. Koay
  • D. L. Jauncey
  • Talvikki Hovatta
  • S. Kiehlmann
  • H. E. Bignall
  • W. Max-Moerbeck
  • T. J. Pearson
  • A. C. S. Readhead
  • R. Reeves
  • C. Reynolds
  • H. Vedantham

Research units

  • Academia Sinica - Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • CSIRO
  • Australian National University
  • University of Turku
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of Crete
  • Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas
  • Universidad de Chile
  • Universidad de Concepción
  • Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy

Abstract

We have conducted the first systematic search for interday variability in a large sample of extragalactic radio sources at 15 GHz. From the sample of 1158 radio-selected blazars monitored over an similar to 10 yr span by the Owens Valley Radio Observatory 40-m telescope, we identified 20 sources exhibiting significant flux density variations on 4-d time-scales. The sky distribution of the variable sources is strongly dependent on the line-of-sight Galactic H alpha intensities from the Wisconsin H alpha Mapper Survey, demonstrating the contribution of interstellar scintillation (ISS) to their interday variability. 21 per cent of sources observed through sightlines with H alpha intensities larger than 10 rayleighs exhibit significant ISS persistent over the similar to 10 yr period. The fraction of scintillators is potentially larger when considering less significant variables missed by our selection criteria, due to ISS intermittency. This study demonstrates that ISS is still important at 15 GHz, particularly through strongly scattered sightlines of the Galaxy. Of the 20 most significant variables, 11 are observed through the Orion-Eridanus superbubble, photoionized by hot stars of the Orion OB1 association. The high-energy neutrino source TXS 0506+056 is observed through this region, so ISS must be considered in any interpretation of its short-term radio variability. J0616-1041 appears to exhibit large similar to 20 per cent interday flux density variations, comparable in magnitude to that of the very rare class of extreme, intrahour scintillators that includes PKS0405-385, J1819+3845, and PKS1257-326; this needs to be confirmed by higher cadence follow-up observations.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5365-5380
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume489
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • scattering, ISM: general, galaxies: active, galaxies:jets, quasars: general, radio continuum: galaxies, COMPTON CATASTROPHE SCENARIO, EXTRAGALACTIC RADIO-SOURCES, ORION OB1 ASSOCIATION, INTRADAY VARIABILITY, BRIGHTNESS TEMPERATURE, SKY, SCATTERING, QUASAR, TURBULENCE

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