EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 381, Number 2, January II 2002
Page(s) 378 - 388
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011460


A&A 381, 378-388 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011460

Bendings of radio jets in BL Lacertae objects

I. EVN and MERLIN observations
P. Cassaro1, 2, C. Stanghellini1, D. Dallacasa3, M. Bondi2 and R. A. Zappalà2

1  Istituto di Radioastronomia del CNR, C.P. 141, 96017 Noto SR, Italy
2  Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Città Universitaria, via S. Sofia 78, 95125 Catania, Italy
3  Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127, Bologna, Italy

(Received 27 July 2001 / Accepted 15 October 2001 )

Abstract
Several blazars, and BL Lac objects in particular, show a misalignment between the jet orientation on parsec and kiloparsec scales. Some authors (i.e. Conway & Murphy 1993) have attempted to explain this behaviour invoking helical jets for misalignment angles around 90 $\degr$, showing how in this case there are interesting implications for the understanding of the medium into which the jet is expanding. By comparing sensitive VLA observations (Cassaro et al. 1999) with images available in the literature for the BL Lac objects from the 1-Jy Sample (Stickel et al. 1991), it is clear that there is a wide range of misalignments between the initial jet direction and the kpc-scale jet, when detected. We have carried out VLBI observations of these BL Lac objects, in order to investigate the spatial evolution of the radio jets from few tens to hundreds of mas, and to search for helical jets in this class of sources. We present here the first dataset obtained from EVN+MERLIN observations at 5 GHz for seven objects. From these observations we never have a clear detection of helical jets, we only have a possible signature of their presence in 2 objects. In only one of the sources with a misalignment angle around 90 $\degr$ the presence of helical jets can be ruled out. This implies that it is not possible to invoke helical jets to explain the morphology of all the sources showing a misalignment of about 90 $\degr$ between the parsec and the kiloparsec scale jets.


Key words: galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: general -- galaxies: jets -- radio continuum: galaxies

Offprint request: P. Cassaro, cassaro@ira.noto.cnr.it

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