The environments of FRII radio sources
Using ROSAT observations, we estimate gas pressures in the X-ray-emitting medium surrounding 63 FRII radio galaxies and quasars. We compare these pressures with the internal pressures of the radio-emitting plasma estimated by assuming minimum energy or equipartition. In the majority of cases (including 12/13 sources with modelled, spatially resolved X-ray emission) radio sources appear to be underpressured with respect to the externalmedium, suggesting that simple minimum-energy arguments underestimate the sources’ internal energy density. We discuss possible departures from the minimum energy condition and the consequences of our result for models of the dynamics of radio galaxies, in particular self-similar models (Kaiser & Alexander 1997).