Herschel SPIRE Discovery of Far-infrared Excess Synchrotron Emission from the West Hot Spot of the Radio Galaxy Pictor A

Isobe, Naoki; Sunada, Yuji; Kino, Motoki; Koyama, Shoko; Tashiro, Makoto; Nagai, Hiroshi and Pearson, Chris (2020). Herschel SPIRE Discovery of Far-infrared Excess Synchrotron Emission from the West Hot Spot of the Radio Galaxy Pictor A. The Astrophysical Journal, 899(1) p. 17.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab9d1c

Abstract

A far-infrared counterpart to the west hot spot of the radio galaxy Pictor A is discovered with the Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver (SPIRE) on board Herschel. The color-corrected flux density of the source is measured as 70.0 ± 9.9 mJy at the wavelength of 350 μm. A close investigation into its radio-to-optical spectrum indicates that the mid-infrared excess over the radio synchrotron component, detected with Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and Spitzer, significantly contributes to the far-infrared band. Thanks to the SPIRE data, it is revealed that the spectrum of the excess is described by a broken power-law model subjected to a high-energy cutoff. By applying the radiative cooling break under continuous energy injection (Δα = 0.5), the broken power-law model supports an idea that the excess originates in 10 pc scale substructures within the hot spot. From the break frequency, ${\nu }_{{\rm{b}}}={1.6}_{-1.0}^{+3.0}\times {10}^{12}$ Hz, the magnetic field was estimated as B sime 1–4 mG. This is higher than the minimum-energy magnetic field of the substructures by a factor of 3–10. Even if the origin of the excess is larger than ~100 pc, the magnetic field stronger than the minimum-energy field is confirmed. It is proposed that regions with a magnetic field locally boosted via plasma turbulence are observed as the substructures. The derived energy index below the break, α ~ 0.22 (conservatively <0.42), is difficult to be attributed to the strong-shock acceleration (α = 0.5). Stochastic acceleration and magnetic reconnection are considered as a plausible alternative mechanism.

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