The origin of radio emission in broad absorption line quasars (BALQSOs)

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Physics


This project will investigate the origin of radio emission in broad absorption line quasars (BALQSOs). Most BALQSOs are faint when observed at radio frequencies, and we do not know much about their radio emission. New sensitive radio instruments and surveys are changing this, and we can start to make major advances in understanding the radio emission in broad absorption line quasars and the physics of accretion and outflows around black holes. Correlations between properties related to the broad absorption lines and the radio emission imply a connection - but where does this come from? Is the radio emission generated by the outflows themselves, or merely related to the central quasar driving the entire process? James will explore these questions using new data from the LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey (LoTSS) for statistical studies of broad absorption line quasars. Building on published results from data release 1 (Morabito et al. 2019), he will expand this work with data release 2, increasing the sample size by almost an order of magnitude. He will compare observational trends with toy models to distinguish between evolutionary and geometric models of quasars. In addition, James will re-process LOFAR data at higher resolution (0.26 arcsec compared to 6 arcsec) to discover the radio morphology of BALQSOs. Finally, he will work with the outputs of hydrodynamical models, comparing them with the observations to determine whether disk winds or jets are creating the radio emission.

James will learn transferable skills such as dealing with large data sets, computing in a cluster environment, and how to translate physical laws into programming language. He will also have a chance to prepare proposals for telescope time and potentially go observing if the time is granted.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/T506047/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023
2419803 Studentship ST/T506047/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 James Petley
ST/V506643/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024
2419803 Studentship ST/V506643/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 James Petley