Univ Tubingen, Inst Astron & Astrophys, Abt Astron, D-72076 Tubingen, Germany
; CAS, Inst High Energy Phys, High Energy Astrophys Lab, Beijing 100039, Peoples R China
; Observ Carnegie Inst Washington, Pasadena, CA 91101 USA
We have assembled a sample of 37 radio-loud quasars that have been imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope in order to investigate their black hole masses, accretion rates, and the structure of their accretion disks. The black hole masses were estimated from the luminosities of the host galaxies, and the accretion powers were extrapolated from the emission-line luminosities. The majority of the quasars have masses in the range M-BH approximate to 10(8)-10(9) M.. Their accretion rates, (M) over dot approximate to 0.01-1 times the Eddington rate, suggest that most of the objects possess standard optically thick, geometrically thin accretion disks, in some cases perhaps accompanied by an optically thin advection-dominated component. The coexistence of strong radio emission and a standard disk conflicts with recent models for jet formation. We discuss modifications of the standard model that can resolve this discrepancy. We find there is a strong correlation between the accretion rate and the extended radio luminosity. This lends support to the idea that the extended radio emission is somehow linked to the accretion disk. Lastly, we combine the present sample of radio-loud quasars with the sample of BL Lac objects studied by Wang et al. (2002) to reevaluate the unification picture for radio-loud active galactic nuclei. Consistent with current ideas for the unification of radio-loud sources, we find that flat-spectrum radio quasars and FR II radio galaxies indeed seem to belong to the same population, as do BL Lac objects and FR I radio galaxies on the opposite end of the luminosity spectrum. However, some members of the low frequency-peaked BL Lac objects may be more closely associated with FR II rather than FR I radio galaxies. We describe how the various subclasses of radio-loud sources can be viewed as a continuous sequence of varying accretion rate.