Matthew Lister - Purdue University

Matthew Lister
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Matthew Lister
Purdue University
West Lafayette
United States

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (16)
Astrophysics (10)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (7)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (5)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (1)

Publications Authored By Matthew Lister

Relativistic jets are the most energetic manifestation of the active galactic nucleus (AGN) phenomenon. AGN jets are observed from the radio through gamma-rays and carry copious amounts of matter and energy from the sub-parsec central regions out to the kiloparsec and often megaparsec scale galaxy and cluster environs. While most spatially resolved jets are seen in the radio, an increasing number have been discovered to emit in the optical/near-IR and/or X-ray bands. Read More

We present the analysis of the radio jet evolution of the radio galaxy 3C 120 during a period of prolonged gamma-ray activity detected by the Fermi satellite between December 2012 and October 2014. We find a clear connection between the gamma-ray and radio emission, such that every period of gamma-ray activity is accompanied by the flaring of the mm-VLBI core and subsequent ejection of a new superluminal component. However, not all ejections of components are associated with gamma-ray events detectable by Fermi. Read More

Affiliations: 1Università di Padova, 2INAF Brera, 3Università di Padova, 4Università di Padova, 5Università di Padova, 6Purdue University, 7Ohio State University, 8Ohio State University, 9Purdue University, 10Università di Padova

Flat-spectrum radio-loud Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1s) are a recently discovered class of $\gamma$-ray emitting Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), that exhibit some blazar-like properties which are explained with the presence of a relativistic jet viewed at small angles. When blazars are observed at larger angles they appear as radio-galaxies, and we expect to observe an analogue parent population for beamed NLS1s. However, the number of known NLS1s with the jet viewed at large angles is not enough. Read More

We used 15 GHz VLBA observations of 366 sources having at least 5 epochs within a time interval 1995-2013 from the MOJAVE program and/or its predecessor, the 2 cm VLBA Survey. For each source we produced a corresponding stacked image averaging all available epochs for a better reconstruction of the cross section of the flow. We have analyzed jet profiles transverse to the local jet ridge line and derived both apparent and intrinsic opening angles of the parsec-scale outflows. Read More

We have discovered kiloparsec-scale extended radio emission in three narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1s) in sub-arcsecond resolution 9 GHz images from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). We find all sources show two-sided, mildly core-dominated jet structures with diffuse lobes dominated by termination hotspots. Read More

Relativistic jets in active galactic nuclei (AGN) are among the most powerful astrophysical objects discovered to date. Indeed, jetted AGN studies have been considered a prominent science case for SKA, and were included in several different chapters of the previous SKA Science Book (Carilli & Rawlings 2004). Most of the fundamental questions about the physics of relativistic jets still remain unanswered, and await high-sensitivity radio instruments such as SKA to solve them. Read More

Affiliations: 1Indian Institute of Astrophysics, 2Purdue, 3Purdue, 4MIT, 5RIT, Manitoba, 6RIT, Manitoba

Results from Chandra-HST-VLA observations of 13 hybrid sources are presented. Data from ten sources in the literature are analysed along with new data from three hybrid blazars belonging to the MOJAVE sample. Studies of such hybrid sources displaying both FRI and FRII jet characteristics could provide the key to resolving the long-standing Fanaroff-Riley dichotomy issue. Read More

Affiliations: 1Purdue University, 2Caltech, 3Purdue University, 4Caltech, 5NRAO, 6MPIfR, 7MPIfR, 8MPIfR, 9University of Michigan, 10University of Michigan, 11MPIfR, 12MPIfR

In September 2012, the high-synchrotron-peaked (HSP) blazar Markarian 421 underwent a rapid wideband radio flare, reaching nearly twice the brightest level observed in the centimeter band in over three decades of monitoring. In response to this event we carried out a five epoch centimeter- to millimeter-band multifrequency Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) campaign to investigate the aftermath of this emission event. Rapid radio variations are unprecedented in this object and are surprising in an HSP BL Lac object. Read More

We present a new method to measure Gamma*theta_j in flux-limited samples of active galactic nuclei (AGN) jets, where Gamma is the bulk Lorentz factor and theta_j is the jet's half-opening angle. The Gamma*theta_j parameter is physically important for models of jet launching, and also determines the effectiveness of jet instabilities and magnetic reconnection. We measure Gamma*theta_j by analyzing the observed distribution of apparent opening angles in very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) flux-limited samples of jets, given some prior knowledge of the active galactic nuclei (AGN) radio luminosity function. Read More

In recent work, we have identified two sub-populations of radio-loud AGN which appear to be distinguished by jet structure, where low-efficiency accreting systems produce `weak' jets which decelerate more rapidly than the `strong' jets of black holes accreting near the Eddington limit. The two classes are comprised of: (1) The weak jet sources, corresponding to FR I radio galaxies, having a decelerating or spine-sheath jet with velocity gradients, and (2) The strong jet sources, having fast, collimated jets, and typically displaying strong emission lines. The dichotomy in the \nu_peak-L_peak plane can be understood as a `broken power sequence' in which jets exist on one branch or the other based on the particular accretion mode. Read More

We present the first collective evidence that Fermi-detected jets of high kinetic power (L_kin) are dominated by inverse Compton emission from upscattered external photons. Using a sample with a broad range in orientation angle, including radio galaxies and blazars, we find that very high power sources (L_kin > 10^45.5 erg s^{-1}) show a significant increase in the ratio of inverse Compton to synchrotron power (Compton dominance) with decreasing orientation angle, as measured by the radio core dominance and confirmed by the distribution of superluminal speeds. Read More

Affiliations: 1Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, 2Purdue University, IN, 3Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, 4Purdue University, IN

We present results from deep (70 ks) Chandra ACIS observations and Hubble Space Telescope ACS F475W observations of two highly optically polarized quasars belonging to the MOJAVE blazar sample, viz., PKS B0106+013 and 1641+399 (3C345). These observations reveal X-ray and optical emission from the jets in both sources. Read More

In examining a select sample of over 200 blazars of known jet kinetic power (L_kin) and well-characterized SEDs, we found (Meyer et al., 2011) that Intermediate synchrotron-peaking (ISP) blazars may have lower gamma-ray output than high synchrotron-peaking (HSP) blazars of similar L_kin, consistent with our hypothesis that ISP blazars are less-beamed versions of HSP blazars, rather than a distinct population. Further, by using the radio core dominance as a measure of relative beaming, we find that gamma-ray luminosity depends on beaming in a consistent way for blazars ranging over all jet kinetic powers (10^42 - 10^46 ergs/s). Read More

We recently argued (Meyer 2011) that the collective properties of radio loud active galactic nuclei point to the existence of two families of sources, one of powerful sources with single velocity jets and one of weaker jets with significant velocity gradients in the radiating plasma. These families also correspond to different accretion modes and therefore different thermal and emission line intrinsic properties: powerful sources have radiatively efficient accretion disks, while in weak sources accretion must be radiatively inefficient. Here, after we briefly review of our recent work, we present the following findings that support our unification scheme: (i) along the broken sequence of aligned objects, the jet kinetic power increases. Read More

We revisit the concept of a blazar sequence that relates the synchrotron peak frequency ({\nu}peak) in blazars with synchrotron peak luminosity (Lpeak, in {\nu}L{\nu}) using a large sample of radio-loud AGN. We present observational evidence that the blazar sequence is formed from two populations in the synchrotron {\nu}peak - Lpeak plane, each forming an upper edge to an envelope of progressively misaligned blazars, and connecting to an adjacent group of radio galaxies having jets viewed at much larger angles to the line of sight. When binned by jet kinetic power (Lkin; as measured through a scaling relationship with extended radio power), we find that radio core dominance decreases with decreasing synchrotron Lpeak, revealing that sources in the envelope are generally more misaligned. Read More

The Chandra X-ray observatory has proven to be a vital tool for studying high-energy emission processes in jets associated with Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN).We have compiled a sample of 27 AGN selected from the radio flux-limited MOJAVE (Monitoring of Jets in AGN with VLBA Experiments) sample of highly relativistically beamed jets to look for correlations between X-ray and radio emission on kiloparsec scales. The sample consists of all MOJAVE quasars which have over 100 mJy of extended radio emission at 1. Read More

Magnetically-driven non-stationary acceleration of jets in AGNs results in the leading parts of the flow been accelerated to much higher Lorentz factors than in the case of steady state acceleration with the same parameters. The higher Doppler-boosted parts of the flow may dominate the high energy emission of blazar jets. We suggest that highly variable GeV and TeV emission in blazars is produced by the faster moving leading edges of highly magnetized non-stationary ejection blobs, while the radio data trace the slower-moving bulk flow. Read More

We show that using either the method of Page & Carrera or the well-known $1/V_a$ method to construct the binned luminosity function (LF) of a flux limited sample of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) can produce an artificial flattening (or steepening in the case of negative evolution) of the binned LF for bins intersected by the flux cutoff of the sample. This effect is more pronounced for samples with steep and strongly evolving parent LFs but is still present even for non-evolving LFs. As a result of this distortion of the true LF, fitting a model LF to binned data may lead to errors in the estimation of the parameters and may even prompt the erroneous use of broken power law functions. Read More

Observations made with the VLBA have led to fundamental advances in our understanding of how radio jets in AGN evolve from parsec-scales out to distances exceeding several hundred kiloparsecs. In this review I discuss current models of young radio source evolution, as well as the observational evidence for a rapid change in jet properties on scales of ~1 kpc. A central topic of current debate is the relative importance of intermittent jet fueling versus jet-environment interactions in causing a drop-off in powerful radio sources at this critical evolutionary stage. Read More

MOJAVE is a long term VLBA program to investigate the kinematics and polarization evolution of a complete sample of 133 active galactic nuclei selected on the basis of compact, relativistically beamed jet emission at 15 GHz. By fitting to the apparent distributions of superluminal speed and jet luminosity, we can constrain the Lorentz factor distribution and intrinsic luminosity function of the radio-selected blazar parent population. These low-energy peaked blazars formed a significant fraction of all EGRET detections, and should figure prominently in the GLAST source catalog. Read More

We report on multi-frequency linear polarization monitoring of 15 active galactic nuclei containing highly relativistic jets with apparent speeds from $\sim$4 $c$ to $>40c$. The measurements were obtained at optical, 1 mm, and 3 mm wavelengths, and at 7 mm with the Very Long Baseline Array. The data show a wide range in degree of linear polarization among the sources, from $<$1% to $>$30%, and interday polarization variability in individual sources. Read More

The HEGRA gamma-ray source TeV J2032+4130 is considered the prototypical 'dark accelerator', since it was the first TeV source detected with no firm counterparts at lower frequencies. The Whipple collaboration observed this source in 2003-5 and the emission hotspot appears displaced about 9 arcminutes to the northeast of the HEGRA position, though given the large positional uncertainties the HEGRA and Whipple positions are consistent. Here we report on Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT), Very Large Array (VLA), Chandra and INTEGRAL data covering the locations of the Whipple and HEGRA hotspots. Read More

We present total and polarized intensity images of 15 active galactic nuclei obtained with the Very Long Baseline Array at 7 mm at 17 epochs from 1998 March to 2001 April. At some epochs the images are accompanied by nearly simultaneous polarization measurements at 3 mm, 1.35/0. Read More

The intrinsic luminosity functions of extremely fast jets found in many active galaxies and gamma-ray bursts are difficult to measure since their apparent luminosities are strongly affected by relativistic beaming. Past studies have only provided analytical predictions for the beamed characteristics of populations in which all jets have the same Lorentz factor. However, the jets found in active galaxies are known to span a large range of speeds. Read More

We present results from the highest resolution polarization imaging survey of a complete sample of extragalactic radio sources carried out to date. Our sample consists of a statistically complete flat-spectrum subset of 32 AGNs from the Pearson-Readhead survey, which has been studied at a variety of wavelengths and resolutions, including space-VLBI. Our observations were made with the VLBA at 43 GHz, where the relatively higher resolution and weaker opacity effects have allowed us to probe magnetic field structures in the jets of these AGNs much closer to the central engine than in previous studies. Read More

We discuss the impact of special relativistic effects on the observed light curves and variability duty cycles of AGNs. We model the properties of AGN light curves at radio wavelengths using a simulated shot noise process in which the occurrence of major flaring events in a relativistic jet is governed by Poisson statistics. We show that flaring sources whose radiation is highly beamed toward us are able to reach very high flux levels, but will in fact spend most of their time in relatively low flaring states due to relativistic contraction of flare time scales in the observer frame. Read More

A significant fraction of compact radio-loud quasars display most of the characteristics of relativistically beamed, high-optical polarization blazars, yet are weakly polarized in the optical regime. We have used the VLBA at 22 and 43 GHz to look for differences in the parsec-scale magnetic field structures of 18 high- and low-optically polarized, compact radio-loud quasars (HPQs and LPRQs, respectively). We find a strong correlation between the polarization level of the unresolved parsec-scale radio core at 43 GHz and overall optical polarization of the source, which suggests a common (possibly co-spatial) origin for the emission at these two wavelengths. Read More