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The Astrophysical Journal


We present high-angular (∼0". 4) resolution mid-infrared (MIR) polarimetric observations in the 8.7μm and 11.6μm filters of Cygnus A using CanariCam on the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio CANARIAS. A highly polarized nucleus is observed with a degree of polarization of 11% ±3% and 12% ±3% and a position angle of polarization of 27◦ ±8◦ and 35◦ ± 8◦ in a 0.".38 (∼380 pc) aperture for each filter. The observed rising of the polarized flux density with increasing wavelength is consistent with synchrotron radiation from the parsec-scale jet close to the core of Cygnus A. Based on our polarization model, the synchrotron emission from the parsec-scale jet is estimated to be 14% and 17% of the total flux density in the 8.7μm and 11.6μm filters, respectively. A blackbody component with a characteristic temperature of 220 K accounts for >75% of the observed MIR total flux density. The blackbody emission arises from a combination of (1) dust emission in the torus; and (2) diffuse dust emission around the nuclear region, but the contributions of the two components cannot be well-constrained in these observations.



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