Witnessing the gradual slowdown of powerful extragalactic jets: the X-ray-optical-radio connection.
GEORGANOPOULOS M. and KAZANAS D.
Abstract (from CDS):
A puzzling feature of the Chandra-detected quasar jets is that their X-ray emission decreases faster along the jet than their radio emission, resulting in an outward-increasing radio-to-X-ray ratio. In some sources this behavior is so extreme that the radio emission peak is located clearly downstream of that of the X-rays. This is a rather unanticipated behavior given that the inverse Compton nature of the X-rays and the synchrotron radio emission are attributed to roughly the same electrons of the jet's nonthermal electron distribution. In this Letter we show that this morphological behavior can result from the gradual deceleration of a relativistic flow and that the offsets in peak emission at different wavelengths carry the imprint of this deceleration. This notion is consistent with another recent finding, namely, that the jets feeding the terminal hot spots of powerful radio galaxies and quasars are still relativistic with Lorentz factors Γ∼2-3. The picture of the kinematics of powerful jets emerging from these considerations is that they remain relativistic as they gradually decelerate from kiloparsec scales to the hot spots, where, in a final collision with the intergalactic medium, they slow down rapidly to the subrelativistic velocities of the hot spot advance speed.
Galaxies: Active - Galaxies: Quasars: General - Radiation Mechanisms: Nonthermal - X-Rays: Galaxies