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See detailLarge-Scale Alignments of Quasar Polarization Vectors: Evidence at Cosmological Scales for Very Light Pseudoscalar Particles Mixing with Photons ?
Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Payez, Alexandre ULg; Cabanac, R et al

in Bastien, Pierre (Ed.) Astronomical Polarimetry 2008: Science from Small to Large Telescopes. ASPC 449 (2011, November 01)

Based on a sample of 355 quasars with significant optical polarization, we found that quasar polarization vectors are not randomly oriented over the sky as naturally expected. The probability that the ... [more ▼]

Based on a sample of 355 quasars with significant optical polarization, we found that quasar polarization vectors are not randomly oriented over the sky as naturally expected. The probability that the observed distribution of polarization angles is due to chance is lower than 0.1%. The polarization vectors of the light from quasars are aligned although the sources span huge regions of the sky (˜ 1 Gpc). Groups of quasars located along similar lines of sight but at different redshifts (typically z ≍ 0.5 and z ≍ 1.5) are characterized by different preferred directions of polarization. These characteristics make the observed alignment effect difficult to explain in terms of a local contamination by interstellar polarization in our Galaxy. Interpreted in terms of a cosmological-size effect, we show that the dichroism and birefringence predicted by a mixing between photons and very light pseudoscalar particles within a magnetic field can qualitatively reproduce the observations. We find that circular polarization measurements could help constrain this mechanism. [less ▲]

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See detailNew Insights into the Quasar Type 1/Type 2 Dichotomy from Correlations between Quasar Host Orientation and Polarization
Borguet, Benoît ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Letawe, Géraldine ULg et al

in Bastien, Pierre (Ed.) Astronomical Polarimetry 2008: Science from Small to Large Telescopes. ASPC 449 (2011, November 01)

We investigate correlations between the direction of the optical linear polarization and the orientation of the host galaxy/extended emission for type 1 and type 2 radio-loud and radio-quiet quasars. We ... [more ▼]

We investigate correlations between the direction of the optical linear polarization and the orientation of the host galaxy/extended emission for type 1 and type 2 radio-loud and radio-quiet quasars. We have used high resolution Hubble Space Telescope data and a deconvolution process to obtain a good determination of the host galaxy/extended emission (EE) position angle. With these new measurements and a compilation of data from the literature, we find a significant correlation, different for type 1 and type 2 objects, between the linear polarization position angle and the orientation of the EE, suggesting scattering by an extended UV/blue region in both types of objects. Our observations support the extension of the Unification Model to the higher luminosity AGNs like the quasars, assuming a two component scattering model. [less ▲]

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See detailOptical circular polarization in quasars
Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Borguet, Benoît ULg; Sluse, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2010), 520(Letters), 71-5

We present new optical circular polarization measurements with typical uncertainties <0.1% for a sample of 21 quasars. All but two objects have null circular polarization. We use this result to constrain ... [more ▼]

We present new optical circular polarization measurements with typical uncertainties <0.1% for a sample of 21 quasars. All but two objects have null circular polarization. We use this result to constrain the polarization due to photon-pseudoscalar mixing along the line of sight. We detect significant (> 3σ) circular polarization in two blazars with high linear polarization and discuss the implications of this result for quasar physics. In particular, the recorded polarization degrees may be indicative of magnetic fields as strong as 1 kG or a significant contribution of inverse Compton scattering to the optical continuum. Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Observatory (Chile). ESO program ID: 79.A-0625(B).Appendices are only available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailMicrolensing in H1413+117: disentangling line profile emission and absorption in a broad absorption line quasar
Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Borguet, Benoît ULg; Sluse, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2010), 519

On the basis of 16 years of spectroscopic observations of the four components of the gravitationally lensed broad absorption line (BAL) quasar H1413+117, covering the ultraviolet to visible rest-frame ... [more ▼]

On the basis of 16 years of spectroscopic observations of the four components of the gravitationally lensed broad absorption line (BAL) quasar H1413+117, covering the ultraviolet to visible rest-frame spectral range, we analyze the spectral differences observed in the P Cygni-type line profiles and have used the microlensing effect to derive new clues to the BAL profile formation. We first find that the absorption gradually decreases with time in all components and that this intrinsic variation is accompanied by a decrease in the intensity of the emission. We confirm that the spectral differences observed in component D can be attributed to a microlensing effect lasting at least a decade. We show that microlensing magnifies the continuum source in image D, leaving the emission line region essentially unaffected. We interpret the differences seen in the absorption profiles of component D as the result of an emission line superimposed onto a nearly black absorption profile. We also find that the continuum source and a part of the broad emission line region are likely de-magnified in component C, while components A and B are not affected by microlensing. Differential dust extinction is measured between the A and B lines of sight. We show that microlensing of the continuum source in component D has a chromatic dependence compatible with the thermal continuum emission of a standard Shakura-Sunyaev accretion disk. Using a simple decomposition method to separate the part of the line profiles affected by microlensing and coming from a compact region from the part unaffected by this effect and coming from a larger region, we disentangle the true absorption line profiles from the true emission line profiles. The extracted emission line profiles appear double-peaked, suggesting that the emission is occulted by a strong absorber, narrower in velocity than the full absorption profile, and emitting little by itself. We propose that the outflow around H1413+117 is constituted by a high-velocity polar flow and a denser, lower velocity disk seen nearly edge-on. Finally, we report on the first ground-based polarimetric measurements of the four components of H1413+117. Based on observations made with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (Hawaii), with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory (Chile) and with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and obtained from the data archive at the Space Telescope Institute. ESO program ID: 074.A-0152, 075.B-0675, 081.A-0023. [less ▲]

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See detailA polar+equatorial wind model for broad absorption line quasars. I. Fitting the C IV BAL profiles
Borguet, Benoît ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2010), 515

Context. Despite all the studies, the geometry of the wind at the origin of the blueshifted broad absorption lines (BAL) observed in nearly 20% of quasars still remains a matter of debate. <BR /> Aims: We ... [more ▼]

Context. Despite all the studies, the geometry of the wind at the origin of the blueshifted broad absorption lines (BAL) observed in nearly 20% of quasars still remains a matter of debate. <BR /> Aims: We want to see if a two-component polar+equatorial wind geometry can reproduce the typical BAL profiles observed in these objects. <BR /> Methods: We built a Monte Carlo radiative transfer code (called MCRT) to simulate the line profiles formed in a polar+equatorial wind in which the photons, emitted from a spherically symmetric core are resonantly scattered. Our goal is to reproduce typical C iv line profiles observed in BAL quasars and to identify the parameters governing the line profiles. <BR /> Results: The two-component wind model appears to be efficient in reproducing the BAL profiles from the P Cygni-type profiles to the more complex ones. Some profiles can also be reproduced with a pole-on view. Our simulations provide evidence of a high-velocity rotation of the wind around the polar axis in BAL quasars with non P Cygni-type line profiles. [less ▲]

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See detailQuasar Host Orientation and Polarization: Insights into the Type 1/Type 2 Dichotomy
Borguet, Benoît ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Letawe, Géraldine ULg et al

in Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica (2008), 32

We investigate correlations between the optical linear polarization position angle and the orientation of the host galaxy/extended emission of Type 1 and Type 2 Radio-Loud (RL) and Radio-Quiet (RQ ... [more ▼]

We investigate correlations between the optical linear polarization position angle and the orientation of the host galaxy/extended emission of Type 1 and Type 2 Radio-Loud (RL) and Radio-Quiet (RQ) quasars. We have used high resolution Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data and deconvolution process to obtain a good determination of the host galaxy orientation. With these new measurements and a compilation of data from the literature, we find a significant correlation between the polarization position angle and the position angle of the major axis of the host galaxy/extended emission. The correlation appears different for Type 1 and Type 2 objects and depends on the redshift of the source. Interpretations in the framework of the unification model are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence of a type 1/type 2 dichotomy in the correlation between quasar optical polarization and host-galaxy/extended emission position angles
Borguet, Benoît ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Letawe, Géraldine ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2008), 478

Aims.For Seyfert galaxies, the AGN unification model provides a simple and well-established explanation of the type 1/type 2 dichotomy through orientation-based effects. The generalization of this ... [more ▼]

Aims.For Seyfert galaxies, the AGN unification model provides a simple and well-established explanation of the type 1/type 2 dichotomy through orientation-based effects. The generalization of this unification model to the higher luminosity AGNs that quasars are remains a key question. The recent detection of type 2 radio-quiet quasars seems to support such an extension. We propose a further test of this scenario. Methods: On the basis of a compilation of quasar host-galaxy position angles consisting of previously published data and of new measurements performed using HST Archive images, we investigate the possible existence of a correlation between the linear polarization position angle and the host-galaxy/extended emission position angle of quasars. Results: We find that the orientation of the rest-frame UV/blue extended emission is correlated to the direction of the quasar polarization. For type 1 quasars, the polarization is aligned with the extended UV/blue emission, while these two quantities are perpendicular in type 2 objects. This result is independent of the quasar radio loudness. We interpret this (anti-)alignment effect in terms of scattering in a two-component polar+equatorial model that applies to both type 1 and type 2 objects. Moreover, the orientation of the polarization -and then of the UV/blue scattered light- does not appear correlated to the major axis of the stellar component of the host-galaxy measured from near-IR images. [less ▲]

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See detailQSO Type1/Type2 dichotomy (Borguet+, 2008)
Borguet, Benoît ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Letawe, Géraldine ULg et al

Textual, factual or bibliographical database (2007)

This table contains the measurements/compilation of host galaxy/ extended emission position angle in the visible and near-IR domain, polarimetric data, and radio axis orientation for the 135 quasars of ... [more ▼]

This table contains the measurements/compilation of host galaxy/ extended emission position angle in the visible and near-IR domain, polarimetric data, and radio axis orientation for the 135 quasars of our sample. The angles are given in degrees east of north. The table gives the spectral and the radio-loud/radio-quiet classification of each object according to the references. (2 data files). [less ▲]

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See detailOn the potential of extrasolar planet transit surveys
Gillon, Michaël ULg; Courbin, F.; Magain, Pierre ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2005), 442

We analyse the respective benefits and drawbacks of ground-based and space-based transit surveys for extrasolar planets. Based on simple but realistic assumptions about the fraction of lower main sequence ... [more ▼]

We analyse the respective benefits and drawbacks of ground-based and space-based transit surveys for extrasolar planets. Based on simple but realistic assumptions about the fraction of lower main sequence stars harboring telluric and giant planets within the outer limit of the habitable zone, we predict the harvests of fictitious surveys with three existing wide field optical and near-IR cameras: the CFHT-Megacam, SUBARU-Suprime and VISTA-IR. An additional promising instrument is considered, VISTA-Vis, currently under development. The results are compared with the harvests predicted under exactly the same assumptions, for the space missions COROT and KEPLER. We show that ground-based wide field surveys may discover more giant planets than space missions. However, space surveys seem to constitute the best strategy to search for telluric planets. In this respect, the KEPLER mission appears 50 times more efficient than any of the ground-based surveys considered here. KEPLER might even discover telluric planets in the habitable zone of their host star. [less ▲]

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