A Polarization Flare in 3C 273: A Clue to Jet Physics
We present UBVRIJHK polarization and flux density observations of the quasar 3C 273 obtained during a time of outburst over two weeks in 1988 February. We have modelled these data with two power law components, each with wavelength-independent position angle. These components are roughly perpendicular. The steeper-spectrum component has higher infrared polarized flux density, with the electric vector approximately transvers to the projected direction of the VLBI jet. The K-band polarized flux density and position angle, and possibly the spectral index of the two components, are correlated with a time of less than a day. We explain our results in terms of a shocked jet model with two nearly co-spatial components: a shock component with magnetic field approximately perpendicular to the jet and the other with magnetic field approximately parallel to the jet.