Vol 20, No 8

The dying accretion and jet in a powerful radio galaxy of Hercules A

Lin-Hui Wu, Qing-Wen Wu, Jian-Chao Feng, Ru-Sen Lu, Xu-Liang Fan


Abstract Hercules A (Her A) is one of a rare class of dying and transition-type objects, which has a pair of giant, powerful radio lobes and a weak radio core. We reduce and analyze the radio data of Her A that were observed by the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA) during 2010-2011 at C band. The intensity distribution is very smooth along the edge of the lobe front and the intensity also sharply decreases at the edge, which supports that magnetic fields may play an important role in radio lobes. The spectrum of the weak core is very steep and the core flux becomes weaker by about ten percent when compared to what was observed twenty years ago, which suggest that the central engine is still dying quickly. Her A deviates a lot from the relation between [O III] luminosity and low-frequency 178 MHz luminosity (LO III − L178 MHz ) as defined by other FR I/II sources. However, when only radio core emission is considered, it roughly follows an LO III − L178 MHz correlation. This result supports that the black-hole accretion and large-scale jet in Her A did not evolve simultaneously, and indicates that although the large-scale jet is still powerful, the accretion and inner jet have changed into an inactive state. Based on the estimated Bondi accretion rate, we model the spectrum of Her A with a radiatively inefficient accretion flow and jet model.


Keywords black hole physics, galaxies: jets, radiation mechanisms: non-thermal, radio continuum: galaxies, galaxies: magnetic fields

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