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Galaxies 2016, 4(4), 46; doi:10.3390/galaxies4040046

Observations of the Structure and Dynamics of the Inner M87 Jet

1
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
2
Department of Physics & Astronomy, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
3
MPIA, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
4
Goddard Space Flight Center, Astrophysics Science Division, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
5
ISR-2, MS-D436, Los Alamos National Laboratory, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
6
Max Plank Institute für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Huegel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
7
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
8
Institut für Experimentalphysik, Universität Hamburg, Luruper Chaussee 149, 22761 Hamburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Emilio Elizalde
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 5 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 18 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blazars through Sharp Multi-wavelength Eyes)
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Abstract

M87 is the best source in which to study a jet at high resolution in gravitational units because it has a very high mass black hole and is nearby. The angular size of the black hole is second only to Sgr A*, which does not have a strong jet. The jet structure is edge brightened with a wide opening angle base and a weak counterjet. We have roughly annual observations for 17 years plus intensive monitoring at three week intervals for a year and five day intervals for 2.5 months made with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) at 43 GHz. The inner jet shows very complex dynamics, with apparent motions both along and across the jet. Speeds from zero to over 2c are seen, with acceleration observed over the first 3 milli-arcseconds. The counterjet decreases in brightness much more rapidly than the main jet, as is expected from relativistic beaming in an accelerating jet oriented near the line-of-sight. Details of the structure and dynamics are discussed. The roughly annual observations show side-to-side motion of the whole jet with a characteristic time scale of about 9 years. View Full-Text
Keywords: galaxies: individual (M87); galaxies: jets; galaxies: active; radio continuum: galaxies galaxies: individual (M87); galaxies: jets; galaxies: active; radio continuum: galaxies
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Walker, R.C.; Hardee, P.E.; Davies, F.; Ly, C.; Junor, W.; Mertens, F.; Lobanov, A. Observations of the Structure and Dynamics of the Inner M87 Jet. Galaxies 2016, 4, 46.

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