Published in:

Astronomical Journal 131,3 (2006) 1262-1279;


We report first-epoch circular polarization results for 133 active galactic nuclei in the MOJAVE program to monitor the structure and polarization of a flux-limited sample of extragalactic radio jets with the VLBA at 15 GHz. We found strong circular polarization (>= 0.3%) in approximately 15% of our sample. The circular polarization was usually associated with jet cores; however, we did find a few strong jet components to be circularly polarized. The levels of circular polarization were typically in the range of 0.3%-0.5% of the local Stokes I value. We found no strong correlations between fractional circular polarization of jet cores and source type, redshift, EGRET detections, linear polarization, or other observed parsec-scale jet properties. There were differences between the circular-to-linear polarization ratios of two nearby galaxies versus more distant quasars and BL Lac objects. We suggest this is because the more distant sources have either (1) less depolarization of their linear polarization, and/or (2) poorer effective linear resolution, and therefore, their VLBA cores apparently contain a larger amount of linearly polarized jet emission. The jet of 3C 84 shows a complex circular polarization structure, similar to observations by Homan & Wardle 5 years earlier; however, much of the circular polarization seems to have moved, consistent with a proper motion of 0.06c. The jet of 3C 273 also has several circularly polarized components, and we find that their fractional circular polarization decreases with distance from the core.


bl lacertae objects : general;; galaxies : active;; galaxies : jets;; polarization;; quasars : general;; radio continuum : galaxies;; compact radio-sources;; relativistic jets;; synchrotron sources;; sagittarius-a;; emission;; luminosity;; kinematics;; radiation;; galaxies;; scales

Date of this Version

January 2006



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