• Gopal-Krishna

      Articles written in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy

    • The large-scale distribution of quasars identified with strong radio sources at 5 GHz

      P. Shastri Gopal-Krishna

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      The large-scale angular distribution of quasars from a complete sample of extragalactic radio sources is examined at different redshifts. The sample contains 264 quasars which have been found so far among the complete sample of 518 radio sources stronger than. 1 Jy at 5 GHz. Of these, 19 quasars have redshift z > 2. Dividing the entire sky into three separate declination zones of equal area, the counts of quasars seem to indicate a deficit of high redshift quasars in the northernmost declination zone. On the other hand, the Iow-redshift quasars (z < 1) appear fairly uniformly distributed. We discuss some possible selection effects that might have led to the apparent anomaly at high redshifts and estimate the expected number of high-redshift quasars amongst the radio sources in the sample for which redshifts are presently not available.

    • The jet of the Quasar 3C 273

      Wolfgang Kundt Gopal-Krishna

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      New observations of the jet in 3C 273 support and refine our earlier interpretation that (i) the mapped jet is 106±0.3 yr old and grows at 0.6 to 0.75 times the speed of light, at an average angle θ of (20 ± 10)‡ with respect to the line of sight; (ii) its twin is not seen yet because arriving signals were emitted when it was some 100.6±0.2 times younger; (iii) the fluid moving in the jet is an extremely relativistice±-pair plasma, of bulk Lorentz factor γ >102; (iv) the beam has swung in projection through some 10‡; and (v) the small excursions (wiggles) of the jet around its average propagation direction result from a self-stabilizing interaction with the nonstatic ambient plasma. All other interpretations of which we are aware depend heavily on the (‘beaming’) assumption that the jet material radiates isotropically in some (comoving) Lorentz frame, an assumption which we consider unrealistic.

    • Evidence for evolution as support for big bang


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      With the exception ofZERO, the concept ofBIG BANG is by far the most bizarre creation of the human mind. Three classical pillars of the Big Bang model of the origin of the universe are generally thought to be: (i) The abundances of the light elements; (ii) the microwave background radiation; and (iii) the change with cosmic epoch in the average properties of galaxies (both active and non-active types). Evidence is also mounting for redshift dependence of the intergalactic medium, as discussed elsewhere in this volume in detail. In this contribution, I endeavour to highlight a selection of recent advances pertaining to the third category.

      The widely different levels of confidence in the claimed observational constraints in the field of cosmology can be guaged from the following excerpts from two leading astrophysicists: “I would bet odds of 10 to 1 on the validity of the general ‘hot Big Bang’ concept as a description of how our universe has evolved since it was around 1 sec. old”-M. Rees (1995), in ‘Perspectives in Astrophysical Cosmology’CUP. “With the much more sensitive observations available today, no astrophysical property shows evidence of evolution, such as was claimed in the 1950s to disprove the Steady State theory”-F. Hoyle (1987), in ‘Fifty years in cosmology’, B.M. Birla Memorial Lecture, Hyderabad, India.

      The burgeoning multi-wavelength culture in astronomy has provided a tremendous boost to observational cosmology in recent years. We now proceed to illustrate this with a sequence of examples which reinforce the picture of an evolving universe. Also provided are some relevant details of the data used in these studies so that their scope can be independently judged by the readers.

    • Optical variability properties of high luminosity AGN classes

      C. S. Stalin Gopal-Krishna Ram Sagar Paul J. Wiita

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      We present the results of a comparative study of the intranight optical variability (INOV) characteristics of radio-loud and radioquiet quasars, which involves a systematic intra-night optical monitoring of seven sets of high luminosity AGNs covering the redshift rangez ≃ 0.2 toz ≃ 2.2. The sample, matched in the optical luminosity—redshift(MB—z) plane, consists of seven radio-quiet quasars (RQQs), eight radio lobedominated quasars (LDQs), five radio core-dominated quasars (CDQs) and six BL Lac objects (BLs). Systematic CCD observations, aided by a careful data analysis procedure, have allowed us to detect INOV with amplitudes as low as about 1%. Present observations cover a total of 113 nights (720 hours) with only a single quasar monitored as continuously as possible on a given night. Considering the cases of only unambiguous detections of INOV we have estimated duty cycles (DCs) of 17%, 12%, 20% and 61% for RQQs, LDQs, CDQs, and BLs, respectively. The much lower amplitude and DC of ESfOV shown by RQQs compared to BLs may be understood in terms of their having optical synchrotron jets which are modestly misdirected from us. From our fairly extensive dataset, no general trend of a correlation between the INOV amplitude and the apparent optical brightness of the quasar is noticed. This suggests that the physical mechanisms of INOV and long term optical variability (LTOV) do not have a one-to-one relationship and different factors are involved. Also, the absence of a clear negative correlation between the INOV and LTOV characteristics of blazars of our sample points toward an inconspicuous contribution of accretion disk fluctuations to the observed INOV. The INOV duty cycle of the AGNs observed in this program suggests that INOV is associated predominantly with the highly polarized optical emission components. We also report new VLA imaging of two RQQs (1029 + 329 & 1252 + 020) in our sample which has yielded a 5 GHz detection in one of them (1252 + 020;S5GHZ ≃ 1 mJy).

    • Kinematical Diagrams for Conical Relativistic Jets

      Gopal-Krishna Pronoy Sircar Samir Dhurde

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      We present diagrams depicting the expected inter-dependences of two key kinematical parameters of radio knots in the parsec-scale jets of blazars, deduced from VLBI observations. The two parameters are the apparent speed (𝑣app = c𝛽app) and the effective Doppler boosting factor (𝛿eff) of the relativistically moving radio knot. A novel aspect of these analytical computations of 𝛽–𝛿 diagrams is that they are made for parsecscale jets having a conical shape, with modest opening angles (𝜔 up to 10°), in accord with the VLBI observations of the nuclei of the nearest radio galaxies. Another motivating factor is the recent finding that consideration of a conical geometry can have important implications for the interpretation of a variety of radio observations of blazar jets. In addition to uniform jet flows (i.e., those having a uniform bulk Lorentz factor, 𝛤), computational results are also presented for stratified jets where an ultra-relativistic central spine along the jet axis is surrounded by a slower moving sheath, possibly arising from a velocity shear.

    • GMRT Detection of a New Wide-Angle Tail (WAT) Radio Source Associated with the Galaxy PGC 1519010

      N. G. Kantharia M. Das Gopal-Krishna

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      We report the serendipitous detection of a Wide-Angle Tail (WAT) radio galaxy at 240 and 610 MHz, using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). This WAT is hosted by a cD galaxy PGC 1519010 whose photometric redshift given in the SDSS DR6 catalogue is close to the spectroscopic redshifts (0.105, 0.106 and 0.107) of three galaxies found within $4'$ of the cD. Using the SDSS DR6, we have identified a total of 37 galaxies within $15'$ of the cD, whose photometric redshifts are between 0.08 and 0.14. This strongly suggests that the cD is associated with a group of galaxies whose conspicuous feature is a north–south chain of galaxies (filament) extending to at least 2.6 Mpc. The ROSAT all-sky survey shows a faint, diffuse X-ray source in this direction, which probably marks the hot intracluster gas in the potential well of this group.

      We combine the radio structural information for this WAT with the galaxy clustering in that region to check its overall consistency with the models of WAT formation. The bending of the jet before and after its disruption forming the radio plume, are found to be correlated in this WAT, as seen from the contrasting morphological patterns on the two sides of the core. Probable constraints imposed by this on the models ofWAT formation are pointed out. We also briefly report on the other interesting radio sources found in the proximity of the WAT. These include a highly asymmetric double radio source and an ultra-steep spectrum radio source for which no optical counterpart is detected in the SDSS.

    • On the Photometric Error Calibration for the Differential Light Curves of Point-like Active Galactic Nuclei

      Arti Goyal Mukul Mhaskey Gopal-Krishna Paul J. Wiita C. S. Stalin Ram Sagar

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      It is important to quantify the underestimation of rms photometric errors returned by the commonly used APPHOT algorithm in the IRAF software, in the context of differential photometry of point-like AGN, because of the crucial role it plays in evaluating their variability properties. Published values of the underestimation factor, 𝜂, using several different telescopes, lie in the range 1.3–1.75. The present study aims to revisit this question by employing an exceptionally large data set of 262 differential light curves (DLCs) derived from 262 pairs of non-varying stars monitored under our ARIES AGN monitoring program for characterizing the intra-night optical variability (INOV) of prominent AGN classes. The bulk of these data were taken with the 1-m Sampurnanad Telescope (ST). We find 𝜂 = 1.54 ± 0.05 which is close to our recently reported value of 𝜂 = 1.5. Moreover, this consistency holds at least up to a brightness mismatch of 1.5 mag between the paired stars. From this we infer that a magnitude difference of at least up to 1.5 mag between a point-like AGN and comparison star(s) monitored simultaneously is within the same CCD chip acceptable, as it should not lead to spurious claims of INOV.

    • A physically-motivated perspective of Fanaroff–Riley classification of radio galaxies


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      A small subset of extragalactic double radio sources, termed HYbrid MOrpholgy Radio Sources (HYMORS), is distinguished by a very unusual, hybrid morphology in terms of Fanaroff–Riley (FR) classification. In HYMORS, one radio lobe appears edge-darkened (FR I), while the other shows a well-defined emission peak near its outer edge (edge-brightened, FR II). Such sources are rare, but critical for constrainingthe mechanism responsible for FR dichotomy, a widely debated issue in extragalactic astrophysics. Here, we highlight the need for caution in assigning FR type, in view of some upcoming observational campaigns to confirm HYMORS among the candidates. To illustrate this, we highlight the cases of three radio sources, which have been perceived to be HYMORS, including the radio galaxy 0500$+$630 (4C $+$63.07), which has been claimed to be a good, original example of a HYMORS, with a FR I western lobe and a FR II eastern lobe marked by a prominent terminal hot spot. However, its recent VLASS map at 3 GHz has revealed that the western lobe actually extends much farther out than reported and terminates in a well-defined emissionpeak. This implies that the source is a regular FR II radio galaxy and not a HYMORS. We also provide a brief perspective of the HYMORS phenomenon and underscore the need to confirm a FR I classification by ruling out additional FR II characteristics, such as an inward lobe-widening and spectral steepening, as well as a lack of prominent radio jet within the lobe.

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      Posted on January 27, 2016

      Since January 2016, the Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy has moved to Continuous Article Publishing (CAP) mode. This means that each accepted article is being published immediately online with DOI and article citation ID with starting page number 1. Articles are also visible in Web of Science immediately. All these have helped shorten the publication time and have improved the visibility of the articles.

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