MOJAVE: Monitoring of Jets in Active Galactic Nuclei with VLBA Experiments. VI. Kinematics Analysis of a Complete Sample of Blazar Jets

M. L. Lister, M. H. Cohen, D. C. Homan, M. Kadler, K. I. Kellermann, Y. Y. Kovalev, E. Ros, T. Savolainen, J. A. Zensus

Tutkimustuotos: LehtiartikkeliArticleScientificvertaisarvioitu


We discuss the jet kinematics of a complete flux-density-limited sample of 135 radio-loud active galactic nuclei (AGNs) resulting from a 13 year program to investigate the structure and evolution of parsec-scale jet phenomena. Our analysis is based on new 2 cm Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) images obtained between 2002 and 2007, but includes our previously published observations made at the same wavelength, and is supplemented by VLBA archive data. In all, we have used 2424 images spanning the years 1994-2007 to study and determine the motions of 526 separate jet features in 127 jets. The data quality and temporal coverage (a median of 15 epochs per source) of this complete AGN jet sample represent a significant advance over previous kinematics surveys. In all but five AGNs, the jets appear one-sided, most likely the result of differential Doppler boosting. In general, the observed motions are directed along the jet ridge line, outward from the optically thick core feature. We directly observe changes in speed and/or direction in one third of the well-sampled jet components in our survey. While there is some spread in the apparent speeds of separate features within an individual jet, the dispersion is about three times smaller than the overall dispersion of speeds among all jets. This supports the idea that there is a characteristic flow that describes each jet, which we have characterized by the fastest observed component speed. The observed maximum speed distribution is peaked at ~10c, with a tail that extends out to ~50c. This requires a distribution of intrinsic Lorentz factors in the parent population that range up to ~50. We also note the presence of some rare low-pattern speeds or even stationary features in otherwise rapidly flowing jets that may be the result of standing re-collimation shocks, and/or a complex geometry and highly favorable Doppler factor.
JulkaisuAstronomical Journal
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2009
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu


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