VLBI for Gravity Probe B. II. Monitoring of the structure of the reference sources 3C 454.3, B2250+194, and B2252+172

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/0067-0049/201/1/2
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TypeArticle
Journal titleAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
ISSN0067-0049
Volume201
Issue1
Article number2
AbstractWe used 8.4GHz very long baseline interferometry images obtained at up to 35 epochs between 1997 and 2005 to examine the radio structures of the main reference source, 3C 454.3, and two secondary reference sources, B2250+194 and B2252+172, for the guide star for the NASA/Stanford relativity mission Gravity Probe B (GP-B). For one epoch in 2004 May, we also obtained images at 5.0 and 15.4GHz. The 35 8.4GHz images for quasar 3C 454.3 confirm a complex, evolving, core-jet structure. We identified at each epoch a component, C1, near the easternmost edge of the core region. Simulations of the core region showed that C1 is located, on average, 0.18 ± 0.06mas west of the unresolved "core" identified in 43GHz images. We also identified in 3C 454.3 at 8.4GHz several additional components that moved away from C1 with proper motions ranging in magnitude between 0.9 c and 5 c. The detailed motions of the components exhibit two distinct bends in the jet axis located 3 and 5.5mas west of C1. The spectra between 5.0 and 15.4GHz for the "moving" components are steeper than those for C1. The 8.4GHz images of B2250+194 and B2252+172, in contrast to those of 3C 454.3, reveal compact structures. The spectrum between 5.0 and 15.4GHz for B2250+194 is inverted while that for B2252+172 is flat. Based on its position near the easternmost edge of the 8.4GHz radio structure, close spatial association with the 43GHz core, and relatively flat spectrum, we believe 3C 454.3 component C1 to be the best choice for the ultimate reference point for the GP-B guide star. The compact structures and inverted-to-flat spectra of B2250+194 and B2252+172 make these objects valuable secondary reference sources. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (HIA-IHA)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269197
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Record identifier378d55ad-4ff6-4f08-96e1-d4c9f5e14dff
Record created2013-12-12
Record modified2016-05-09
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