High-resolution radio imaging of two luminous quasars beyond redshift 4.5
Keywords: techniques: interferometric, radio continuum: galaxies, galaxies: high-redshift, quasars: individual: J0906+6930, quasars: individual: J2102+6015About the paper Full text
Context. Radio-loud active galactic nuclei in the early Universe are rare. The quasars J0906+6930 at redshift z = 5.47 and J2102+6015 at z = 4.57 stand out from the known sample with their compact emission on milliarcsecond (mas) angular scale with high (0.1 Jy level) flux densities measured at GHz radio frequencies. This makes them ideal targets for very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations. Aims. By means of VLBI imaging we can reveal the inner radio structure of quasars and model their brightness distribution to better understand the geometry of the jet and the physics of the sources. Methods. We present sensitive high-resolution VLBI images of J0906+6930 and J2102+6015 at two observing frequencies, 2.3 and 8.6 GHz. The data were taken in an astrometric observing programme involving a global five-element radio telescope array. We combined the data from five different epochs from 2017 February to August. Results. For one of the highest redshift blazars known, J0906+6930, we present the first-ever VLBI image obtained at a frequency below 8 GHz. Based on our images at 2.3 and 8.6 GHz, we confirm that this source has a sharply bent helical inner jet structure within ∼3 mas from the core. The quasar J2102+6015 shows an elongated radio structure in the east–west direction within the innermost ∼2 mas that can be described with a symmetric three-component brightness distribution model at 8.6 GHz. Because of their non-pointlike mas-scale structure, these sources are not ideal as astrometric reference objects. Our results demonstrate that VLBI observing programmes conducted primarily with astrometric or geodetic goals can be utilized for astrophysical purposes as well.