Astrophys. J., 758, L27 (2012/October-3)
Periodic structure in the megaparsec-scale jet of PKS 0637-752.
GODFREY L.E.H., LOVELL J.E.J., BURKE-SPOLAOR S., EKERS R., BICKNELL G.V., BIRKINSHAW M., WORRALL D.M., JAUNCEY D.L., SCHWARTZ D.A., MARSHALL H.L., GELBORD J., PERLMAN E.S. and GEORGANOPOULOS M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present 18 GHz Australia Telescope Compact Array imaging of the megaparsec-scale quasar jet PKS 0637-752 with angular resolution ∼0".58. We draw attention to a spectacular train of quasi-periodic knots along the inner 11'' of the jet, with average separation ∼1.1 arcsec (7.6 kpc projected). We consider two classes of model to explain the periodic knots: those that involve a static pattern through which the jet plasma travels (e.g., stationary shocks) and those that involve modulation of the jet engine. Interpreting the knots as re-confinement shocks implies the jet kinetic power Qjet∼ 1046 erg/s, but the constant knot separation along the jet is not expected in a realistic external density profile. For models involving modulation of the jet engine, we find that the required modulation period is 2x103 yr < τ < 3 x 105 yr. The lower end of this range is applicable if the jet remains highly relativistic on kiloparsec scales, as implied by the IC/CMB model of jet X-ray emission. We suggest that the periodic jet structure in PKS 0637-752 may be analogous to the quasi-periodic jet modulation seen in the microquasar GRS 1915+105, believed to result from limit cycle behavior in an unstable accretion disk. If variations in the accretion rate are driven by a binary black hole, the predicted orbital radius is 0.7 pc ≲ a ≲ 30 pc, which corresponds to a maximum angular separation of ∼0.1-5 mas.
galaxies: active - galaxies: jets - quasars: individual: PKS0637-752
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