We present an investigation into the spatial variation of the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) and optical line and continuum emission along the radio axis of the z∼ 2.6 radio galaxy 0828+193, using long-slit spectra from the Keck II and Subaru telescopes. Line brightnesses, line ratios and electron temperatures are examined, and their relationship with the arm-length asymmetry of the radio source is also investigated. We find that on the side of the nucleus with the shortest radio lobe, the gas covering factor is higher, and the ionization parameter is lower. The contrasts in environmental density required to explain the asymmetries in the line brightness and the radio arm-length asymmetries are in fair agreement with each other. These results add further weight to the conclusion of McCarthy, van Breugel & Kapahi – lobe distance asymmetries in powerful radio sources are the result of an asymmetry in the environmental density.
We also note that the brightness of both the UV and optical continuum emission shows a similar spatial asymmetry to that shown by the line emission. While the UV continuum asymmetry can be wholly explained by the expected asymmetry in the nebular continuum, the optical continuum asymmetry cannot. We argue that, at least at optical wavelengths, the starlight and/or the scattered light must also be strongly spatially asymmetric.