On multiwavelength emission of large-scale quasar jets.
STAWARZ L., SIKORA M., OSTROWSKI M. and BEGELMAN M.C.
Abstract (from CDS):
We discuss morphological properties of the large-scale jets in powerful radio sources, which are now observed at radio, optical, and X-ray frequencies, in order to determine the origin of their X-ray radiation and the nature of the particle acceleration responsible for their multiwavelength emission. We show that modeling knots of these objects as stationary regions of energy dissipation within the uniform and continuous jet flow leads to several problems. Such problems are especially pronounced if the observed X-ray emission is due to inverse Compton scattering of the cosmic microwave background radiation. We explore another possibility, namely, that the knots represent moving and separate portions of the jet matter with excess kinetic power. We suggest a possible connection between this scenario and the idea of intermittent/highly modulated jet activity. The proposed model can explain some morphological properties of quasar jets–such as high knot-to-interknot brightness contrasts, frequency-independent knot profiles, and the almost universal extents of the knot regions–independently of the exact emission mechanism responsible for producing the X-rays. In this context, we consider different possibilities for the production of such X-ray radiation and discuss the related issue of particle acceleration. We conclude that the appropriate process cannot be designated for certain yet. We suggest, however, that X-ray observations of the jet in 3C 120 (in which intermittent jet activity is quite distinct) already seem to support the synchrotron origin of the X-ray emission, at least in this object.
Acceleration of Particles - Galaxies: Jets - Radiation Mechanisms: Nonthermal - X-Rays: General