Credit: NASA/CXC/Bristol U./M. Hardcastle et al.; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/Bristol U./M. Hardcastle
Jets are some of the most powerful phenomena encountered anywhere. We find jets nearly everywhere: in newly-forming young stars, old dead stars, and active galactic nuclei. Nature generates jets by the accretion of material onto a central star or black hole. In all these cases, the revolutionary motion of matter swirling down onto the central source, faster and faster, generates the strong powerful collimated outflow. Protostellar jets can blast out of the natal gas and dust cocoons surrounding newly forming stars, while jets from active galaxies blast entirely out of their host galaxies, extending into inter-galactic space for up to millions of lightyears. Jets can be strong sources of radio and X-ray emission, so X-ray and radio studies are an important tool for studying jets. The image above is a composite radio (in red) and X-ray (blue) image of the jet from the active galaxy Centaurus A, obtained by the Very Large Array and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. This study shows how strong radio emission is generated by an intense magnetic field in the inner part of the jet, while particles accelerated by the inner jet produce strong X-ray emission as they blast everything in their path. Powerful, powerful jets!
Published: January 17, 2011
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 24-Jan-2011 07:04:12 EST