Astrophys. J., 759, 114 (2012/November-2)
What governs the bulk velocity of the jet components in active galactic nuclei?
CHAI B., CAO X. and GU M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We use a sample of radio-loud active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with measured black hole masses to explore the jet formation mechanisms in these sources. Based on Königl's inhomogeneous jet model, the jet parameters, such as the bulk motion Lorentz factor, magnetic field strength, and electron density in the jet, can be estimated with the very long baseline interferometry and X-ray data.. We find a significant correlation between black hole mass and the bulk Lorentz factor of the jet components for this sample, while no significant correlation is present between the bulk Lorentz factor and the Eddington ratio. The massive black holes will be spun up through accretion, as the black holes acquire mass and angular momentum simultaneously through accretion. Recent investigation indeed suggested that most supermassive black holes in elliptical galaxies have on average higher spins than the black holes in spiral galaxies, where random, small accretion episodes (e.g., tidally disrupted stars, accretion of molecular clouds) might have played a more important role. If this is true, then the correlation between black hole mass and the bulk Lorentz factor of the jet components found in this work implies that the motion velocity of the jet components is probably governed by the black hole spin. No correlation is found between the magnetic field strength at 10RS(RS= 2GM/c 2 is the Schwarzschild radius) in the jets and the bulk Lorentz factor of the jet components for this sample. This is consistent with the black hole spin scenario, i.e., the faster moving jets are magnetically accelerated by the magnetic fields threading the horizon of more rapidly rotating black holes. The results imply that the Blandford-Znajek mechanism may dominate over the Blandford-Payne mechanism for the jet acceleration, at least in these radio-loud AGNs.
galaxies: active - galaxies: jets - galaxies: magnetic fields
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