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Monitoring Of Jets in Active galactic nuclei with VLBA Experiments (MOJAVE)

by Purav Patel last modified Feb 08, 2012 by Mark Adams

Monitoring Of Jets in Active galactic nuclei with VLBA Experiments (MOJAVE)

Matt Lister, Joey Richards (Purdue); Talvikki Hovatta (Caltech); Yuri Kovalev (Astro Space Center of Lebedev Physical Insitute - Russia); Dan Homan (Denison University); Ken Kellermann (NRAO); Hugh Aller, Margo Aller (Univ Michigan); Tigran Arshakian, Andrew Lobanov, Tuomas Savolainen, Anton Zensus (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy); Eduardo Ros (Univ Valencia); Matthias Kadler (Univ Wuerzburg); Moritz Böck (Univ Erlangen-Nuremberg); Neil Gehrels, Julie McEnery (Goddard Space Flight Center); Marshall Cohen (Caltech); Alexander Pushkarev (Pulkovo Observatory).

Supermassive black holes at the centers of active galaxies are responsible for powerful outflows in the form of highly relativistic jets with observed Lorentz factors up to at least 50 and inferred values possibly much greater.  The microwave and high energy sky is dominated by a subset of these jets whose radiation is beamed almost directly at us. These jets frequently appear to flare with apparent large increases in their radiation on timescales of minutes to days before fading out again.  The enormous powers contained in these relativistic jets make them a likely source of high energy cosmic rays, and may have exerted a strong influence on structure formation in the early universe via feedback mechanisms.

By using the superb imaging capability of the VLBA and supporting multi-wavelength observations, the MOJAVE program is examining how the structure of these jets evolve, and how their polarized radio emission reveals details of their magnetic fields and the medium through which they are expanding. MOJAVE looks at a broad sample of jets to determine their range of speeds, how and where these flows accelerate to produce high energy photons, and why only certain galaxies form highly energetic, gamma-ray emitting jets of the type detected by NASA's Fermi observatory.