Tuesday, July 9, 2013

1307.1731 (Michael A. DiPompeo et al.)

Does Size Matter? The Underlying Intrinsic Size Distribution of Radio Sources and Implications for Unification by Orientation    [PDF]

Michael A. DiPompeo, Jessie C. Runnoe, Adam D. Myers, Todd A. Boroson
Unification by orientation is a ubiquitous concept in the study of active galactic nuclei. A gold standard of the orientation paradigm is the hypothesis that radio galaxies and radio-loud quasars are intrinsically the same, but are observed over different ranges of viewing angles. Historically, strong support for this model was provided by the projected sizes of radio structure in luminous radio galaxies, which were found to be significantly larger than those of quasars, as predicted due to simple geometric projection. Recently, this test of the simplest prediction of orientation-based models has been revisited with larger samples that cover wider ranges of fundamental properties---and no clear difference in projected sizes of radio structure is found. Cast solely in terms of viewing angle effects, these results provide convincing evidence that unification of these objects solely through orientation fails. However, it is possible that conflicting results regarding the role orientation plays in our view of radio sources simply result from insufficient sampling of their intrinsic size distribution. We test this possibility using Monte-Carlo simulations constrained by real sample sizes and properties. We develop models for the real intrinsic size distribution of radio sources, simulate observations by randomly sampling intrinsic sizes and viewing angles, and analyze how likely each sample is to support or dispute unification by orientation. We find that, while it is possible to reconcile conflicting results purely within a simple, orientation-based framework, it is very unlikely. We analyze the effects that sample size, relative numbers of radio galaxies and quasars, the critical angle that separates the two subclasses, and the shape of the intrinsic size distribution have on this type of test.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.1731

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